30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2021
We wanted to share our story of how cancer has affected our lives, and how PCFLV has made a difference even in this early part of our journey. We call our beloved 14-month-old boy “Squishy” as a nickname due to his cute chubby cheeks and thighs, but his given name is Andrew. We are both on our second marriages and have children from our first marriages. But Andrew is the first and only child we have had together. He is a perfect baby…happy and inquisitive, loving, friendly and smart. He started going to a daycare center at a young age and got a lot of colds. Even though he was sniffling and sick about as often as he was well, we did not think much of it, other than all the great antibodies he was developing and how he would be so healthy when he grew up.
He developed a particularly nasty respiratory infection in June of 2021, and started running fevers, stopped eating, significantly reduced his drinking of fluids, threw up a few times, lost his voice and was just plain miserable. For 5 straight days, we took him or called into his primary care provider and kept checking and asking what more we could do. He was found to have two viruses attacking him. He just was not getting better, lost a good amount of weight and acted lethargic for days in a row.
We were sent to the emergency room. We got fluids and a blood test at the ER, were admitted, and heard news we never expected and no parent ever wants to hear - Squishy had cancer. How could he? He is so perfect – it is so unfair. Cancer is such an ugly word that brings tears to the eyes and dread to our hearts. His cancer is a form of leukemia called “AML”. Some of you reading this know that AML is a terrible beast. It comes in several forms, and the treatment plans are long and involved, never gentle or pleasant. And like any cancer, there is no guarantee of success.
We are living our new normal life in the hospital with our Squishy, knowing intellectually, we have a very long journey ahead of us and that we are doing all we possibly can for his care. But emotionally, we are surviving only because of the love and support of our family, friends, and the strong people we have met through several groups and organizations like PCFLV. We believe it is so important for us to be positive and strong for Squish, and part of this is trying to live our best lives. We have a 10-year-old at home who needs as much “normal” as possible, and we are thankful for PCFLV-sponsored events like “Magic and Mayhem” which allow us to have some fun family time. We also truly get so much joy and hope from reading the stories of other families who have faced significant struggles with cancer and come out stronger than ever.
We believe so strongly in our little Squishy. He has no idea what all these needle pokes are all about, or why so many doctors and nurses want to see him at all hours of the day. He is just so strong and resilient, with his smile and laugh melting our hearts and giving us new energy and faith in him and in the process. We know there will be many miserable days ahead on the journey back to health. And while we are only a few months in, we will never give up our hope and faith that we will be writing an update to this story in a year or two when he is in full remission and going back to being a normal, troublemaking toddler.
Written by Squishy’s parents, David and Amy
Please consider donating in Squishy's honor to support PCFLV's mission.
Please also consider helping local kids with cancer by donating blood at Miller-Keystone Blood Center:
Photography by Matthew Cannon