Val Marshall's cancer journey began in May 2009, when her son Addison was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. A visit to the family doctor for what they thought was a simple high school football injury turned out to be much more.
Inspired by her son's strength and hope, Val strives to be a voice that connects other parents on this journey. Her series shares insight into her life as a mom of a typical teenager who just happens to be fighting leukemia.
I have to say that I was happy to ring in the New Year and say "hasta la vista, baby" to 2011. Last year was a huge mountain for Addison to climb. But he scaled it with a heavy load, while refusing to yield to leukemia's wrath.
I remember when I saw the protocol with 104 weeks of chemotherapy at the time of his relapse. I never thought the end of treatment would occur. He's now looking down at 81 weeks -- "run Forrest, run!" We're crossing our fingers and hearts that he will finish chemo in June, in time to ship off to Texas A&M this fall.
Addie started the year like he lives each day. He fell on jump boxes while working out and split open his shin. I didn't flinch but realized that his platelets must have been decent, even though it took a while to stop the bleeding. Boy, I am getting lax. Addie was more concerned that New Year's Eve would be compromised.
He will not be able to get his immunizations for six months post-chemo, which is yet another scary step of the cancer waltz. His immunity has been "bone scrubbed," but I guess college germs can't be much more toxic than a high school weight room.
It might be a tad neurotic to shuttle to College Station to disinfect his bathroom and change his sheets. He'll probably want to sleep in a hammock, so he doesn't have to make his bed. The child has many wonderful qualities, but cleanliness is not one of them.
We recently found out Addie was chosen as the winner of the Rudy Award. I'd like to thank you for voting these past few months. I looked over Addie's page and realized that there isn't another picture, video or thought that could be included.
This clip is of Addie being interviewed on a sports show via Skype. He should have at least made his bed.
He talks about the "crazy kindness" that has been showered upon him and the love of his community that is pulling him through the madness.
"The road to success is always under construction." -- Lily Tomlin