Do you remember where you were on January 5, 2005? I do. My wife and I were at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite face to face with a pediatric oncologist. The four words she spoke were so unbelievable, I asked her to repeat them… "your son has cancer". That date and those words are etched in my memory - it was the day that everything in our lives changed.
In the weeks prior to his diagnosis, Connor, who was two months shy of his fourth birthday, and his older brother had gotten their equipment ready, practiced, skated, and were ready for their first night of the Atlanta Thrashers
Cross Ice Program. Two days before their hockey debut, Connor was diagnosed with Leukemia. From a child's perspective, missing the first night of hockey was much more devastating than learning that he had cancer. While we struggled with this news, we tried to keep life as normal as possible for his big brother Sean, who was five at the time. Sean went to practice that first night, and called Connor at the hospital to tell him all about it.
Over the next five years, Connor would visit the Aflac Cancer Center many times. Five years from diagnosis date is a considerable milestone. In Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia patients, this is when you are officially, scientifically, and statistically considered a survivor. Connor had 45 doses of some kind of intravenous chemotherapy in addition to 19 sedation chemo treatments. He has visited the Aflac Cancer Center 81 times, and the Emergency Room 3 times. He has been hospitalized twice and has had 2 surgeries. He took oral chemotherapy drugs and steroids for 38 months. We watched our son grow older and stronger, while beating a terrible disease, and keeping his great attitude. Connor taught us so much along the way. I have said many times before that so often I was trying to be strong and comforting for Connor and it was always in those moments that he was a great strength to me.
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