~ Celebrate Life ~
This blog was originally created in 2011 to chronicle our son’s journey with leukemia. It was the most convenient way to keep family and friends informed of his frequent medical updates. *(Archived Posts are in the column to the right). As Jesse battled this relentless disease, so many came along our family’s side. The continuous love, support and prayers made our journey more bearable. It was amazing to receive that kind of support from all over the world.
March 6th of 2015, marked Jesse’s two year anniversary in Heaven and now I feel moved to share his brave story with the public. My hope is that you will be blessed by his story and possibly find resources or ideas that will help you.
Overview of Jesse’s Journey
It was December 7, 2011, that changed the course of my family’s life. Our 17-year-old son, Jesse, was diagnosed with Leukemia ALL positive Philadelphia chromosome. During his course of treatments, he had endured 6 different chemotherapy regimens due to the inability to achieve remission. The third regimen was toxic, overpowered his system and caused renal failure. Consequently, the chemotherapy pooled in his body causing an emergency flight from Hurley Medical Center to U of M – Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Jesse was placed on a ventilator because his oxygen levels were not stable. It was soon discovered the chemo had not only effected his kidneys, lungs, and heart but also caused brain damage. Miraculously, after 86 days in the hospital, all of Jesse’s organs had healed with the exception of his brain. We were thankful but yet in shock. Our charismatic teenage son had regressed to the mental capacity of a young child. In addition, the neurological damage included significant loss of his motor skills. Thereafter, we were not only battling the leukemia but also assisting him with speech, physical and occupational therapies. Jesse’s tasks began with relearning basic skills such as speaking, brushing his teeth, and eating. In time he regained the coordination and strength to sit up alone and ride a 3-wheel recumbent bike. Although he never walked again, we found ways to give him a sense of mobile independence and freedom.
Unfortunately, the leukemia eventually spread to his spinal fluid. This devastated us after such a courageous battle. In September 2012, Jesse turned 18 years old. After his 6th ineffective, brutal regimen, he chose to decline further chemotherapy. Jesse came home to Hospice care to enjoy the rest of his life…Celebrate Life. He continued physical therapy (achieved more pull-ups), went on a hunting trip and traveled to several states connecting with as many family and friends as possible. Much love was spread and memories were made during that time. On March 6, 2013, Jesse went home…Heaven.
In honor of our precious son, we will continue to encourage others to Celebrate Life and make wonderful memories along the way.