By Joey Maynard, a.k.a “Aidan’s Dad”
Our oldest son Aidan looked to us like he had a rash. There were little red dots on his arms, legs & groin area. No fevers, no sniffles, no throwing up. Nothing. The morning of June 16th was nothing more than a doctor’s appointment for a rash. My wife packs up Aidan and Abigail (our 2 year old daughter), left Sean (Abigail’s twin brother) at home with my mom and is off to the pediatricians’ office. Our pediatrician is a 25 minute drive from our home. We originally lived 5 minutes from the office. We kept them as our children’s doctors because they are outstanding in every way. The importance of having faith in your child’s doctor cannot be understated. And this visit would prove that faith.
The doctor took one look at the rash and stated, “I would like to run some blood work.” Still, there is no fear. I mean, why would you expect anything more? Nothing had changed with Aidan. He was still the active, crazy boy we love…so a blood test was no big deal.
The doctor comes back to my wife with the results…leukemia. Now, we didn’t come here for that. He came with a rash, not for something that would change all of our lives forever. The doctor says, “Do not pass ‘Go’ and do not collect $200….Go straight to the 9th floor of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center/Brenner Children’s Hospital. They are expecting you.” Our son went to the doctors with what we thought was a simple rash. He left the doctors with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
Later that year he was also diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. This makes battling leukemia that much harder. Imagine a child that has anxiety being prescribed anxiety pills. Then imagine that child throwing up the due to his anxiety. You see the dilemma. Throw chemotherapy medication on top of this, and the fight becomes almost impossible. Yet through it all, we have become better and (dare I say) closer as a family.
Our fight is now three years old. Aidan still has had his ups and downs, but we now look forward to a possible final treatment sometime in October (knock on wood). While our journey in the treatment of pediatric cancer, ADHD and Autism is far from over, we know there are many more children just starting theirs. Understanding that no two leukemia and autism treatments are the same, I felt that if anybody could take anything away from our fight and apply it in a positive manner to their own journey, then the story of Aidan’s first year of treatment needed to be told. I have self-published my son’s story of his first year battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Autism and ADHD being fought here at Brenner Children’s Hospital. The book is titled “Aidan’s Year.”
While every treatment is different, “Aidan’s Year” tries to fill the need to give the next family going through what we are going through today something you hear very little of when you hear cancer and autism…
Aidan’s story is told through social media postings, with back-stories showing the unreal lows and wonderful highs from his parent’s perspective. It’s also the story of a parent’s struggle with his own childhood, and how the fight of his son and the strength of the family teaches him what real love is. Sadly, publishers call this a “sick book” and not what we believe it to be…a “hope book”. For that reason, I self-published the book to get our story out and is now available on Amazon.com.
I’m not a writer, educator or expert in anything but my children. I do hope that, by telling our story in book form…and with this blog, we can help others.
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