It was a usual cold Friday in December, the 14th of 2001 to be exact. I was a mom of three young children, with one girl and two boys, all under the age of 6. At the time, I was a working mom, busy like most are, trying to help support our family while my husband built his business. I had hoped that one day, as my children grew older that I would be able to quit my job and stay home with them. Our family was very happy, healthy, and looking forward to the future. Little did I know that our world was about to change.
As I prepared to leave the house that morning, I noticed that Tyler was a bit more sluggish than normal. I had reflected back to the previous weekend when he was bed-ridden due to the common flu, at least that's what I thought. I assumed that he wasn't 100% yet, but with no fever, I dropped him at daycare along with my other two kids and off to work I went.
It was Christmas time and we were due to travel to relatives for a Christmas gathering that evening. At work, I kept thinking about how exciting Christmas time was with young children, and how their faces light up when they search underneath the tree for anything with their name on it. There is nothing more priceless than that innocence of hearing them talk about how Santa brought them just what they had asked for. As the day went on and my daydreaming continued, I received a phone call from our daycare facility telling me that Tyler had spiked a low-grade fever. Because my husband was a lot closer to Tyler, he went and picked him up as I scheduled an appointment with his pediatrician. My first thought was that he had some sort of infection, and if left untreated, he would not be well for Christmas. So...my husband and Tyler were directed to an examination room where they waited for the doctor. As it was described to me and I will quote my husband's words "Dr. Warden took one look at Tyler and "knew"", and without examining him, did a finger poke to obtain a small blood sample. The doctor also told my husband that Tyler was extremely pale but never led on how severe the situation was. After testing the sample, the doctor determined that Tyler had an elevated white blood cell count and that we needed to have some more tests done. My husband was directed to a local lab, but when Tyler found out that he was to be poked, he ran the other way. Afterall, he was only 2 1/2 at that time, and what kid isn't scared of needles.
Tyler had to be restrained, but the lab was successful in completing the task. My husband and Tyler were sent home and were told to expect a phone call from the doctor with the results. Because we had been expected at our relatives that evening for a Christmas gathering, and it was 8:00 and we still hadn't heard from the doctor, we decided to head out. My husband had given the doctor his cell number so we knew he would be able to get in touch with us if it was something serious.
Well, we were almost at our destination when we received the phone call. We were told that we needed to pack our things and bring Tyler to the hospital to be admitted immediately. That is all we were told. My husband and I broke down in tears, and honestly, I barely remember the 45 minute ride home. Was it just a dream? I wish! Upon packing our things, and dropping our other two children with their grandparents, we arrived at the hospital where we were met by another doctor. At this point, we knew that this was very serious, but we really didn't know to what extent. All we knew is that we were so scared that we were about to be given a diagnosis that would change our lives forever.