"His symptoms started on his daddy’s birthday, December 8th, 2006. We spent the entire month of December that year going to different doctors. First they thought he had a sinus infection because his first symptom was a droopy eyelid. Then he got to where he wouldn’t walk because his big toe on his right foot hurt so bad, so they thought it was a hairline fracture. Then they thought it was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. So we went from Pediatrician, to Orthopedic Specialist, to Pediatric Opthamologist, back to Pediatrician. Finally the pediatrician ran some bloodwork and his counts were dangerously low. So, she sent us to Egleston on Dec. 28th. Jackson was diagnosed with Pre-B ALL that morning, admitted to the hospital that afternoon, and had a port placed near his heart and his first dose of chemo the next day.
He did very well while on his treatment. He spent three and a half years on treatment. We LOVE our nurses. During nurses week one year Jackson took them vegetable soup and cornbread. They LOVED it. At all the holidays Jackson always took all the office workers tubs of candy. Everyone knows his name – simply because of his transformation! When we first started coming, he HATED it. He would scream bloody murder from the time we got off the elevator until after they got his finger poke done. At the end of treatment, he was to the point to where he didn’t even have to sit in my lap anymore. He was 3, almost 4, when he was diagnosed. He practically grew up in the hospital!
He goes to Egleston now every 2 months for bloodwork and checkups. Dr. Keller is his doctor and we love him and all the nurses and staff there – I just can’t say that enough.
Jackson does have some side effects from the chemo and the drugs he was given. We go to occupational therapy twice a week. We have gone to physical therapy as well.
Jackson collected toys for the hospital toys bins on two separate occasions. He loved getting toys when he got pokes, and there were two occasions when the bins got low. One trip to the hospital it took us six wagons to unload all the toys that were donated. The second time it was at Christmas for the children who would have to spend Christmas in the hospital. The nurses dress up like Elves and put the toys in a Santa bag and leave it in the rooms while the kids are asleep. Is that not the sweetest thing?
We were really devastated when Jack was diagnosed, but we have had nothing but blessings since the initial shock has worn off. We know that God is using this for something much bigger than we could ever comprehend. Thanks again for all you do to bring awareness to this disease and all that who choose to fight it."
- The Austin Family