Our Family Story

Here I am writing as I keep thinking over the last years and where they have lead my family and me. You see I was never that girl who wanted kids from the beginning, don't get me wrong I loved kids; I babysat, worked with them, and taught them how to swim and not drown, but the month of my pediatric rotation through nursing school definitely changed my perspective. I was that kid who knew most of my life that I wanted to be a nurse, more importantly I wanted to be a pediatric nurse and help sick kids because I mean you see all those St. Jude commercials and it draws you in and that is what I wanted to do. As my pediatric rotation started I was super excited as this was the class I had looked forward to the most, but come clinical well my perspective drastically changed. My first week I was put with a child who really was a teenager and only a couple years younger than me, how was I suppose to talk to his parents when they looked at me like I was their own child's age. Second week I was placed with a little baby and a mom who looked just out of place as I did, mix it in with seeing those innocent sick kids who some were so little and tiny, plus a teacher, that well, shouldn't have been teaching us, and I was left with a knot in my stomach. You see I struggled with how these young kids with so much life ahead could be so sick, yet they still had their whole life ahead of them to dream and think about, and growing up to do. I believe and know that this is what left me with the fear of children and raising them, how could I possible take care of a sick child and how would I feel if that was my kid in the hospital bed?

Flash forward to July 4, 2013, Jason and I welcomed Toby Benjamin to the world. Everything through pregnancy was mostly normal except midway through I was placed on lifting restrictions related to a marginal placenta previa but that eventually resolved and everything looked great. Toby was born and healthy that is  except one little spot that looked like a bruise from birth on his left shoulder. His bruise, which they ended up doing a ultrasound on because they thought it was a small clutter of vessels under the tissue that they believed was not a big ordeal ended up turning into a big ordeal. After ultrasounds and X-rays came back and nothing conclusive was seen, the doctor just stated they would watch it and not to worry. At Toby's two week old appointment life drastically changed for us, you see the night before I found a large mass on his right thigh that felt hard to the touch, and well being a nurse I started thinking of what this might be and made note do point it out to the pediatrician the next morning. Well, when I pointed it out, my first gut instinct as a nurse that something isn't right is when another doctor was asked to come in and assess it, leaving both them perplexed and we were sent off for more diagnostic tests. After X-rays to this area and another ultrasound, our pediatrician called and told us she wanted us to meet with a doctor at Children's National Hospital for another opinion. This is where my fear and doubt and worry sank in as I googled the doctor's specialty and I found it listed under Oncology/Hematology. All my training and nursing books that I had read and studied started flashing through my head about anything that dealt with oncology, specifically masses in children and let me tell you these thoughts terrified me. You see this is one of the moment's in my journey that I literally wept and cried out to God, how and why Oh Lord? Are you punishing me for previous sins? These are the thoughts that I began struggling with as I tried to grasp with the news that I had been given.

Our family has since then walked through multiple surgeries, procedures, blood draws, weekly chemotherapy, and MRI's yet God has been with us every step of the way. When Toby was diagnosed with his rare tumor disorder officially in November of 2013 and he started chemotherapy the week before Thanksgiving, I began to tell my story on this blog. It was my way of telling our family's story and letting others know they are not alone in whatever journey they have been given to walk through. My prayer for each entry as I write about updates on his journey to healing, motherhood, and parenting struggles is that you can relate to any part of our story and be encouraged at how the Lord is at work.

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