Toddler’s siblings step up to help him get through treatment

Patient's Name: Jayden A.
Parent's Name: Maria V.
Home Town: Houston, TX
Current Age: 3
Date of Diagnosis: June 5, 2019 (2 years old)
Diagnosis: Leukemia

How did you find out Jayden had cancer?

I took him to a doctor because he didn’t want to eat and his eyes were puffy. That’s it. That’s why I took him. The doctor said he was fine and she would give him some vitamins. I was the one that told her, ‘Can you take blood out of him to make sure everything is fine?’ She said, ‘He’s not going to like it, and he doesn’t need it,’ but I kept asking and eventually she said fine. They found out that his blood counts were low and she told us to go to Texas Children’s Hospital ER. They diagnosed him here.

Wow, that’s amazing mother’s intuition!

Yeah, I can’t explain it. I just knew something was wrong. He doesn’t ever not want to eat. Even though I felt that way, it still took a while for me to realize it was really happening. I couldn’t believe it. We stayed in the hospital for 15 days that time. Then he got a port, and it got infected. Back to the hospital for two weeks. They had to remove the port because of the infection. Now he has a pic line in his arm.

pic How is he doing now?

He is doing well. He’s been active and everything. It hasn’t affected him much; he’s still a regular toddler. That’s been a big blessing. Jayden has 5 siblings ranging in age from 1-17. We can all see that he’s doing alright, so that helps us not worry too much. But, yeah, they say he has been responding really well and he has a really good chance at beating it.

Must be hard to juggle five other kids and Jayden’s treatment?

It was a good thing it happened during the summer because nobody had to go to school or anything. But, yes, since we have to come here four days a week, Monday through Thursday and stay all day, it can be hard. My parents and my in-laws came in from Mexico to help us out. The infection he got in his port, that was the hardest part so far. But otherwise he hasn’t gotten sick on us, thankfully.

What are some things people might not know about cancer?

Before this happened, we would hear the word cancer and think death, everybody imagines the worst. But the doctor says it’s not that way. They have a lot of good cures for this type. It’s not a death sentence. That was relieving to hear.

The other hard part people don’t seem to get is that we can’t take him anywhere. Just here. That’s it. But I don’t think that’s affected him that much because he’s just 3 and he has five brothers and sisters there for him.

What helps Jayden make it through the treatment?

When he was in the hospital, at first, we didn’t have his brothers and sisters come that much. He didn’t want to get out of the bed or do anything. But when his siblings came, he perked up, got out of bed and played. I guess they really help him. The reason they’re all here today is because he told them this morning, ‘Get up, get up, we have to leave for the hospital!’ He wanted them here, so they’re here. They’ve all been good about helping him get through this.

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