Jon's cancer journey Jon is 16 now. His story actually started when he was 7. As our middle child, Jon has 2 older brothers and 2 younger sisters. He is our comedian, our peacemaker and overall easy-going kid. When we started noticing that his handwriting was a bit messier than normal and his piano teacher commented on his “lazy fingers” well, we thought it was just that – laziness. To be fair, he did have a tendency toward that but it continued to worsen. I noticed one day that he was using his shoulders to lift his dinner plate onto the countertop. I made an appointment with my chiropractor first, then his pediatrician. No one seemed to be able to diagnose the problem. The doctor did tell me to go to the ER in order to get seen by a neurologist if it got worse. It did. The day he couldn't walk to the breakfast table, we went to the ER. As it turned out, after extensive and painful nerve testing, Jon had CIPD – chronic inflammatory demyelating polyneuropathy – an autoimmune disorder. The answer? Monthly infusions of expensive gammaglobulin. We went through years of hard-to-find-vein sticks before accepting the fact that he just needed a port. Life got a bit easier after that. If fact, it helped a lot once he was diagnosed with leukemia. But I am getting ahead of myself... Jon lived a fairly normal life after getting adjusted to his autoimmune disorder. The infusions helped him regain his strength each month, well, after the rebound migraine he would get after each infusion. He was able to play Upwards baseball, go to co-op (we homeschooled) and church camps. Eventually, we were able to get a nurse to come to the house each month, instead of traveling to Scottish Rite Medical Clinic. This past summer, Jon even went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with some youth from our church. When he came home he was tired but happy. He had a bit of a cold but his treatment was scheduled for a week later and we didn't dare change it. He began to complain of spots in his eyes and pain in his chest going up the stairs. I made an appointment with both the eye doctor and the pediatrician. The pediatrician, whom we saw first, prescribed a low dose steroid. A couple of weeks later we saw the eye doctor. When she looked at his eyes, she immediately told us that we needed to see a specialist that day and sent us to Dr. Miller, an opthamologist. Jon had severe clots in his eyes. Dr. Miller consulted with Jon's neurologist and the pediatrician. Since Jon's chest still hurt, they thought the bleeding might have been in his chest as well. An X-ray was in order. They decided we should go to Scottish Rite ER for it since the hospital might want more than just an X-ray. On August 8, when they took a blood sample, his white count was the highest they had ever seen – 850,000. Wow. Never saw that coming...He was immediately admitted and put in ICU. After several blood transfusions, platelets (of which he had a bad reaction to one), and blood dialysis a few times, Jon was put in the AFLAC unit to recover. He has since exceeded expectations, met each mile marker and continues to thrive. Of course, it hasn't been without it's bumps. He had a reaction to one of the drugs – PEG- so we have to do 3 shots in his legs for 6 days instead of the one infusion. And he has had 2 hospital stays for fevers. Through it all, Jon's easy-going nature has served him well. He soldiers on through the pain, nausea and weakness with admirable fortitude, faith and the occasional witty remark. It really makes my job as a parent so much easier! We are about to enter “Delayed Intensification” for 2 months, then 2 months of Interim Maintenance before we go onto Maintenance for 3 years. We believe that God works all things together for good to those who love Him. How can cancer possibly be “good”? It may not seem like it at first but we can now sympathize with a whole new set of friends, we know what it is like to stay at the hospital for days on end, we can relate. And, it may just happen that this treatment that is so harsh on Jon's immune system right now, may keep his CIDP from ever returning.