Phillip is a natural born athlete. From the time he was a young boy, he loved sports... basketball, soccer, golf and baseball. But, six months ago, at the age of 9, with little warning, he was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He spent the next few months at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center receiving chemotherapy. His mother, Donna, credits his recovery to not only the latest medical therapies at M. D. Anderson, but also to complementary therapies, like music, exercise and art.
I see the art for Phillip... it was a form of therapy... things that he could not verbalize, but he was feeling from the chemotherapy and the unknown... it's scary... was that was his way to channel those feelings.
I like art, because it gives me something to do... and it's fun.
He drew lots of pictures of the nurses and the doctors and things that happened through the six-month period... I remember when he drew some warrior pictures, and I believe that was during the time he was very angry... he was unable to see some of his friends due to infection and isolation.
I tried not to cry very often, because it would upset him and you don't want to add more to the plate and so he has this picture of me with big crocodile tears coming out and I have it framed in our house and it's "Mama cries". Mama cries. I think he was acknowledging the sadness that we've had. And that is was his way of saying, it's ok, and it's ok that he saw me crying, and he understands, we're altogether in this...
Other complimentary therapies included music, in which Phillip was able to try different instruments... and exercise, an activity he embraced as a way to get back into shape for sports.
They make you stretch. They make you walk on treadmills sometimes, and they make you do that bike where you just pedal, and they have this weight ball that's like 2 lbs. or something, and you can throw it with them and play catch and it makes you stronger.
I believe the system has worked totally to help him become a healthy child again.
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