We have a very special Meet a Small Fry today in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is the number one cause of disease related death’s for kids so you can see why research and awareness are so vital! We’re really grateful to have Sarah sharing the story of her four year old fighter Beckham today, first let’s get to know this little guy better! (For those of you who want to help, at the bottom of this post we’re including shops and vendors that have items for sale with proceeds benefitting Childhood Cancer causes.)
1. What is your name? “Beckham Michael Peterson”
2. How old are you? “Four”
3. Who is your mom? “Mommy Sarah”
4. Who is your dad? “Daddy Brian”
5. What does your dad do? “Goes to work and business”
6. What do you want to be when you grow up? “A daddy!!!”
7. What is your favorite food? “Broccoli, chicken nuggets and cookie monster noodles!” (Earth’s Best Ravioli)
8. What food do you not like?
“I don’t like burgers!”
9. What is your favorite animal? “T-Rex and a Brontosaurus and a Spinosaurus”
10. Where do you want to live when you grow up? “Utah”
11. Who do you want to marry?
12. What does mom say? “I love you!”
13. What do mom and dad do after you go to bed? “Go on a date!”
14. What is your favorite song? “ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle and Once There Was a Snowman”
15. What is your favorite movie?
“Jurassic Park and The Grinch”
16. Where is your favorite place to eat? “Chicken Nuggets at Wendy’s”
17. What is your favorite book? “Buzz Lightyear book!”
18. Where did Navy (Beckham’s sister) come from? “She’s from Utah!”
19. What would you buy with a million dollars? “Um…just toys!”
20. What are you scared of? “I’m scared of the doctors.”
21. Why is the sky blue? “It’s just blue and it gets dark when it’s bedtime.”
21. If you could give a gift to every child in the world, what would it be?
22. What is your favorite place in the world?
“Disney World!” (He hasn’t been yet, but wants to go there for his Make a Wish trip.)
And here is Beckham’s brave story!
August 2013 was around the date I noticed my son Beckham had dark circles under both of his eyes. (The day before Navy, his little sister, and him ran into each other and bumped their heads pretty good.) I called the doctor’s office and they said to watch for swelling and any complaint of pain. Since there was neither, they told me to just watch him and let them know if anything worsened. The circles under his eyes started to go away, but within a few days they darkened again. A good friend of mine advised that I just take him in. I was feeling nervous, but called and made an appointment that day. They told me they would call when they got the blood test results back. I did not feel too worried at that point and decided it was probably nothing more then low iron or something else comparable.
Since I was feeling alright about it all I decided to run some errands while I waited. When I finally received the call from the doctors I was standing in a mall parking lot while a teenage guy loaded a toddler bed in the back of my car for my daughter. The reason I say that it because I wasn’t expecting the news I was about to receive. The doctor told me that Beckham had an appointment the following day up at Primary Children’s Hospital, in Salt Lake City, with the oncology team. The doctor said a slew of other things that I can not remember. I was wracking my mind at the fact that something could be really wrong with my little boy. I hung up the phone and the young guy wished me a good day as he closed my trunk. I gave him a smile and said thank you and climbed in my car and just cried. I called my husband next to tell him the news. He was currently out of town working and did not know what was going on.
It was very surreal walking into an office that had a sign with the word “cancer” above it. When meeting with the oncology team they informed me that whatever Beckham’s condition was it could be a number of things. Everything from mono to cancer. They said that Beckham looked great and that he did not look like a child with cancer and it was probably something else. Relief….
What was next were blood tests…lots and lots of blood tests to narrow down what was causing Beckham’s blood counts to all be so low. After a couple weeks we had another meeting up at oncology. I remember so clearly sitting in an exam room and the doctors walking in with one of the social workers. I remember feeling like something was clearly not alright. The next words came: I am sorry. Beckham has cancer. It is called Neuroblastoma and most likely Stage 4. I remember being in complete shock, but them also not feeling surprised. Is that weird or what?! I remember one of the doctors asking me if I was alright and thinking that it was the most ridiculous question to ask me in that moment.
Everything happened rather quickly. What was next for Beckham was a series of scans and a bone marrow biopsy and aspirate. Chemotherapy would be starting the next week. The tests showed that there was cancer pretty much everywhere. It was in his arms, legs, chest, back, skull, on his adrenal gland, behind his eye and in his bone marrow. The main tumor was about the size of an eggplant and was vertical in his belly.
Beckham has had numerous rounds of chemotherapy, radiation to his skull, his main tumor was successfully removed and he has recently participated in a trial at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York City called NK Cell Therapy. Beckham has also had many homecare nurse visits, surgery to out in a central line, surgery to remove his central line and put in a port, dressing changes, medicine…lots of medicine, antibody therapy, shots, NG (feeding) tube placements, lab draws, extra admitting to the hospital for fevers, more blood transfusions then I can count, lots of “pokes”, damage to his kidneys from chemo (that finally healed!) and hearing aids due to hearing loss from chemo as well. What is next for my Beckham? Next week he will be returning to New York City to do his first round of MIBG therapy. This is a type of radiation where he is isolated for roughly 5 days due to being radioactive. This is a procedure that I am worried about him getting, but hopefully it can reduce the amount of cancer that is left. Right now his bone marrow is clear and the only cancer that is left are spots in the bone.
I am often asked how I keep it all together and how I am not a constant wreck. To be honest, it is extremely hard. Moms are supposed to make it all better and knowing that there is nothing I can do, but love my child and be the best mom I can be. So, that is what I do. I love my child and take no moment for granted. While I do my best to keep it together I do allow myself to feel my emotions. I am scared of losing my little boy. I am terrified of my daughter losing her big brother. I have learned to take each moment and live in it and to simply just slow down. I catch myself from telling my children to just “hold on.” Nothing is more important then them. I take every moment to tell them I love them and to plant kisses all over their beautiful faces. Part of me feels like he will beat this monster. Part of me doesn’t know. What I can say with full confidence is that my little boy is a fighter. He has a ton of energy and recovers from treatments like a champ. The doctors always tell us how amazing his energy is and I honestly believe it is such a blessing. It truly makes it a bit little easier to see him acting as normal as he can be.
Right now a day in Beckham’s life consists of morning, noon and night medicine. A couple days a week he has preschool if his blood counts are good and sickness is down at school. We try to make his life as normal as possible. His weeks vary a lot. Beckham is primarily treated in NYC now so there are a lot of trips back and forth. It is hard to plan anything since treatment varies with scan results. We take it day by day and that works right now. It is our new “normal.”
SHOPS TO CHECK OUT:
100% of Black Wagon’s Music Heals Tee
If you sell an item or know of a shop leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!