Patient Spotlight: Meet Cayson
Cayson was a normal, healthy, stubborn 2 year old boy. He had only been sick one time in his life. A month before his third birthday, on June 28,2017, his mom moved him into a toddler bed. Every night after, Cayson would come downstairs and complain of a stomach ache. No sickness, fever, or other symptom followed. Surely, this was a way to get out of bed in the middle of the night? Unfortunately as the next week unfolded, it was not such a simple explanation. Before leaving on a family vacation after several days of these stomach aches, a trip to the pediatrician was warranted. The doctor found Cayson’s liver enzymes were enlarged, but sent the family off anyways for vacation. Mid-flight, the pilot had to return to Houston to make sure Cayson was transported to Texas Childrens Hospital right away for blood transfusions. The diagnoses? Acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
The next week was a whirlwind; for a child who had never had more than one dose of antibiotics was suddenly inpatient at one of the most renowned hospitals in the country, and was being treated for one of the most aggressive cancers there was. Chemotherapy was started immediately, and after developing a treatment plan and knowing the specific diagnosis, Cayson were released home to start his 2.5 year battle, port placed in his chest, and returning to the hospital at least every other day.
Cayson endured nightly chemotherapy pills, at home administered chemo through his port, and weekly clinic visits for chemotherapy, spinal taps, and infusions at Texas Children’s Hospital. None of which was easy; suddenly a toddler was adapting to immense physical pain instead of running on the playground. He endured horrific mouth sores that left him unable to eat. Hair loss. Memory loss. Inability to develop certain cognitive functions. More days spent in the hospital than outside in the sunshine. Each therapy drug comes with its lengthy list of side effects that he will continue to battle throughout his life, such as learning disabilities, hearing loss, cardiac complications, etc. but they inevitably saved him.
Cayson finished treatment December 9, 2019, an entire year before he was originally meant to finish because of new treatment protocols established by Texas Children’s. He is currently building back his immune system after being suppressed for two years, adapting to “normal” life and ready to face the challenges ahead that linger from the chemotherapy.