As most of you know, JD is our son. He’s 21 months old and just a riot to be around! On Thursday afternoon, January 7, my friend (and JD’s sitter) Tiffany called me to see if I had noticed any swelling in JD’s glands that morning. I told her I hadn’t noticed anything and then asked why she was asking. She said she hadn’t noticed anything that morning but then that afternoon when he went down for his nap she noticed two goose-eggs on the left side of his neck and a smaller one on the right side. I wasn’t sure what it was so I called the phone nurse at our pediatrician’s office. I briefly explained what Tiffany had described to me. I asked what it could be and if I needed to bring JD in to the office. The nurse said since he wasn’t running a fever and had no other symptoms she recommended I give him some allergy medicine for the next few days and just keep a close eye on him for any other symptoms. She said when children get colds or have sinus trouble it can back up into their glands and cause them to swell. This is most likely what was wrong with JD!
I watched him all weekend and gave him his "daily regimen" of allergy meds and there wasn’t any improvement. I had called the nurse back Friday just to get some more advice as to what we could do and she said if there is no change by mid-next week or if they’d gotten bigger, she recommended I bring JD in to the office. My mother-in-law brought me some Amoxicillin Saturday that one of my nephews had just gotten but was allergic to so couldn’t use. I started him on that Sunday thinking if it was an infection that would take care of the problem.
I kept a close eye on JD all week! I looked up “swollen glands” on WebMD, Baby.com and in the medical book I have at home. They all listed a ton of things it could be but the only symptom JD had for any of them were the swollen glands. JD never had any other symptoms all week. He was still eating/sleeping like normal, still acting like the crazy kid he is, and still NO FEVER! The bump on the right side actually went away, but the two on the left didn’t seem to change much at all. On Sunday morning, January 17, I completely forgot to give JD his allergy medicine before church. The bumps on the left side seemed so much bigger on Sunday night and Jeremiah and I decided to finally take him to the doctor on Monday morning. If nothing else, it would give me peace of mind! I figured I’d go in and get a different allergy medicine and we’d be good!
I got to the doctor’s office around 8:30am and actually was fortunate enough to get the head pediatrician as the doctor for our visit. I was thrilled about that because he’s so thorough and I knew we were in good hands. After examining JD’s neck he told me that something just wasn’t right. He asked me to expound on the last 10 days and any other symptoms. I told him how JD hadn’t had any other symptoms and how WebMD listed cancer as the first possible disease of swollen glands. I was kind of chuckling and said, “I haven’t even entertained that idea. I mean, sometimes I think they just put that up there first to scare people.” I wanted him to know I wasn't one of those parents who was expecting the worst. The doctor paused for a minute then said, “I don’t know if you knew or not, but I was a cancer specialist for 16 years.” He proceeded to tell me that cancer is unlikely but he wasn’t ruling it out. Then he told me it wasn’t urgent, but he recommends JD have a CT scan within the next day or two. I kept thinking, if it’s not urgent why did we have to do it in the next day or two?! He said something wasn’t right about the bumps and he wants to get a better look at them. He said if JD had a CT he’d have to be put under. He then said the only other option was to have a Fine Needle test. The doctor explained that when he worked in the cancer field a Fine Needle test was the best way to examine a mass and
determine the cause/treatment. The problem was he didn’t know if they could still do Fine Needle tests. Also, he said that most likely whatever they find will result in the bumps being surgically removed.
Here I am with my 21-month old son, facing terms like “mass, cancer, CT scan”. Not a good feeling! I didn’t know what to do. I just kept thinking “God you already know what this is and you know how to fix it! I’ve just gotta trust you!” The doctor went to call the specialist’s office and see if they could do the Fine Needle test. In the meantime, a nurse came to do a blood test on JD to test his white blood cell levels. The doctor came back in a few minutes later and said he got us worked in for the test and that JD’s blood work came back perfect. That meant that cancer most likely was not present…but that wasn’t 100% guaranteed.
I got in the car to go to the specialists office and it hit me – this is real! Something could be REALLY really wrong! I was on the phone with different family members while I drove to the specialist’s office and just kept getting more and more worked up! The more I talked about it and explained what was going on the more REAL it became and that scared me. I knew GOD was in control but I was worried about my baby!
Jeremiah met me at the specialists office around 9:45am. Then we waited! For an hour and 45 minutes we waited! Our pediatrician had told me what they would have to do to JD to complete the Fine Needle test and that most likely I wouldn’t be allowed in the room. I was dreading what JD was about to go through; but JD had no idea! He was having a blast. He got to show off in the waiting room and just soaked up the attention! What a ham!!!! We finally got called back and were put in a room. Within just a few minutes the doctor walked in and began to go over the details of the procedure. After they got everything set up they told us we were about to begin. They allowed both Jeremiah and I to stay in the room throughout the procedure. JD was placed on a body board with straps over his ankles, knees, stomach and arms while three nurses held him down. The doctor then stuck a needle in one of the bumps to numb it. He then stuck a larger needle in the bump to extract some of the tissue. JD just screamed the whole time. It was awful! I didn’t want to watch it, but I couldn’t leave him. After they extracted the tissue the nurses unstrapped him and gave him to me. Talk about heart-wrenching. JD held on so tight! The doctor explained they would examine the tissue and should have the results by that afternoon. He told us to come back around 4:30pm and they would give us the results and we would go from there.
We left the office, got some lunch, Jeremiah went back to work and I went to my brother-in-law/sister-in-l
We headed back to the doctor’s office around 4:30pm and were taken directly to a room. The doctor came in with a huge grin on his face and said, “Great news! It’s just an infection!” Never had I been so happy to hear the word “infection”. He said they weren’t sure what caused the infection but we would need to treat that first. He has to be on stronger antibiotics, then we have to go back Thursday, January 28, for a follow-up. He said that he is concerned with why the infection bunched up in the two masses like it did. He said it could either be a cyst that got infected (that will eventually have to be removed) or it could be lymph cells that bunched together and somehow got infected (and they’ll eventually have to be removed). Right now – we just have to get rid of the infection. After that they’ll have to do more tests to determine our next course of action.
I was thrilled with the news! Yes, we still may be facing surgery and I’m okay with that. He’s a boy – he’ll love having scars! Compared to what we could have faced, this is fantastic news. Throughout the whole process Jeremiah and I both remained relatively calm. I know that is all because GOD’s people were praying for us. Most of you didn’t even know what to pray about – just to pray. I can’t thank you enough! Our GOD is an awesome GOD and I am so thankful for the grace and strength HE gave us yesterday! We still covet your prayers! The next 10 days are going to be long! Our prayer is that the antibiotics completely heal the infection and even resolve the issue so no surgery is necessary. If he does have to have surgery, that's okay too. We'll get through it. Again, GOD knows! Thank you for loving us and praying us through this! I know in comparison to some this is minor. I know that there are families with far worse medical situations. I can’t imagine what it is like for them. But this was huge to us.
GOD promises to never leave or forsake us and to never give more than we are able to handle. If you are not sure about your future and you don't know 100% sure where you will spend eternity, I ask you to meet my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. He will come to you, where you are - just as you are. The Bible says if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If you would like to meet my GOD, I'd love to help you know for sure that you're going to heaven! Thank you again for all your love and prayers. We will keep you updated!
Jeremiah, Crista, and JD
*This was taken of my sweet boy in Sep/Oct 2009. It is one of my favorite pictures of him!