We will never forget the sleepless night and early morning of Friday, October 29, 2010 when Rhett was diagnosed with Leukemia. Our lives were turned upside-down. How could this be happening to our adorable, smart, otherwise normal two-year-old? In and out of the hospital we endured long days filled with medicine, steroids, pain, infections, complications, and sadness. Slowly, we started to see him getting better, then worse, then better, then more ups and downs. There was a point in time when the doctors had the thankless task of explaining to us that Rhett was “between a rock and a hard place.” But nobody gave up until he finally got better. For 3 ½ years this life of emergency rooms, hospitalizations and clinic visits, bald heads, procedures, surgeries, pokes, and “puke-fests” (vomiting), became the new norm. All worth it….to get the “bad guys out,” a phrase Rhett declared with each and every chemo dose.
Words cannot describe how thankful we are for Rhett’s recovery. We couldn’t have done it without the compassion and generosity of our friends, families, and community. Having Rhett as the Boy of the Year and participating in the many Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fund-raising events has been a rewarding experience for our whole family. We will continue our advocacy efforts to support the types of cancer research that saved Rhett’s life.
We applaud the level of care we’ve received from the faculty and staff at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. In addition to the clinical care from Rhett’s team of doctors and nurses, we so appreciate the comprehensive services offered to patients and their families – social work, child life, nutrition, physical therapy, etc. It has all helped to make a very difficult experience more manageable and “pleasant.”
The fragility of Rhett's life has changed us forever. His illness has shaken the very core of who we are. We will never be the same. We know that our world can never return to "normal". Many people say that this all will be a distant memory soon - and that this period will seem like a "hiccup" in an otherwise healthy child's life. It will never be that way for us. It happened – and ironically, I think we are better people, who know just how lucky we are.