Rachel Camp of Council Bluffs, Iowa was taking her three children for routine checkups.
She didn’t have any major concerns but she did want to ask the doctor about her 4-month-old’s belly.
It looked a little plumper and protruding than it ought to be but she didn’t think it was anything serious.
After all, he didn’t look sick of uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, she was very wrong.
“I absolutely love our pediatrician. She examines Jonathan, he’s great – perfect, as always. Then I place Jameson on the table,” Rachel told Love What Matters.
“She begins her exam and I mention that I’m concerned about the size of his belly. ‘Does it look too big?’ I can see concern in her face immediately as she looks at his belly. My heart drops.”
The doctor tells Rachel that she can feel his spleen and orders an immediately X-Ray for Jameson.
The boy was taken for an X-Ray and Rachel was disheartened by the look on the doctor’s face when she returned with the results.
She told Rachel that the baby’s liver and spleen were enlarged.
“So enlarged that the radiologist who read his X-ray asked her, ‘how sick is this baby?’ He’s not sick at all! He’s smiling and laughing, he’s perfect,” Rachel said.
The baby was then scheduled for an ultrasound and blood tests.
Jameson had an ultrasound the next day.
And just as they baby was about to be taken for a blood test, Rachel got a call from the pediatrician urgently telling her that the baby should not have his blood taken.
She tells them to rush over to Children’s Hospital in Omaha since the ultrasound reports did not look good.
She told them they needed to get over to the hematology-oncology department right away for testing.
“Oncology? I feel tears begin to well up in my eyes. Sobs come from my chest, uncontrollably. This cannot actually be happening,” Rachel recalls.
“I tell my husband to get Jameson dressed, in his car seat, and out the door now. I could not stay in that lab. I wanted to get to the clinic NOW. I rushed toward the elevator, a literal sobbing mess.”
The hospital staff informed Camp and her husband that the ultrasound found two large masses in the baby’s liver and another large one behind his kidney.
They believe it was most likely neuroblastoma. They had to first confirm this and see what stage the cancer was in.
They sent the family home and told them to come back for an MRI on Monday.
During that waiting period, Rachel’s brain was racing with thoughts.
“Our perfect, happy, healthy baby boy has a belly full of tumors. Cancerous tumors. How did I not know this? Is he going to live? Why him? Why my innocent baby?” she thought.
Rachel looked up as much as she could about neuroblastoma over the weekend and found out that it was the most common cancer in infants and that the younger the child the better the outcome.
Treatment could also be as simple as watching the tumors.
The MRI on Monday revealed that the tumors were taking up 80 percent of his abdomen. It was a miracle as to how his organs were functioning under the pressure. They also found out cancer spread to his skin, muscle, and bone.
He had surgery the next day and was eventually diagnosed as having stage 4 neuroblastoma.
Chemotherapy was the only option and needed to be started right away to shrink the tumors before they cause the organs to fail.
“The emotional turmoil on a daily basis is gut-wrenching. But, I’m a mom. I’m Jameson’s mom,” she explains.
“I need him to be so strong, so I need to be so strong for him. My baby is literally fighting for his life right now. Enduring so much trauma, just to live. I am so glad he will not remember any of this when he is older, I hate that I will remember every single moment. Even when I feel so weak, I cannot break. It’s not an option. This is my world now.”
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Rachel never thought her family would be in this position but says they have found beauty during the process.
It has taught them to appreciate every moment they have with the people they love.
“Every moment, every ‘little thing’ is precious and reason to celebrate.”
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