Chase was like any other 2 yr old little boy. He loves trucks & cars, riding his bike, going to the park, and just having the carefree life that any 2 yr old boy deserves. On July 22, 2010 his life was changed in a big way and very very quickly. Unlike a lot of the kids diagnosed, Chase seemed to me to be perfectly healthy. He had a few weird things going on, but nothing that seemed to me to be red flags for what was to come. He was happy and healthy (at least I thought). He had been a little extra tired, but not anything that had me worried. He was asking for naps instead of me telling him it was time for a nap. He had some weird really big bruises in strange places that I didn't know how he had gotten them. He fell and bumped his lip and it was bleeding pretty bad and wouldn't stop from just one little bump. The last thing was he started telling me that when climbing up on my bed or on a high chair that his side would hurt. He was only 2 yrs old so I wasn't sure if he was telling me that his arm hurt or if his side hurt. These were all things that happened on different days, spread out so I didn't think to put them all together. But all in all he was still happy and he wasn't sick.
At the time I was about 32 weeks pregnant. We were headed north for the next two weeks. We live in Southern Utah and I was taking the kids to my parents house in Logan while my husband went on a golf trip to palm springs. I was feeling huge and living where we do in July it was really hot. So I thought we would escape the heat and get some help from grandma in the last weeks of my pregnancy. I was in the stage of visiting the doctor every two weeks for my pregnancy so I needed to see him right before we left. I had the car packed up ready to head to Bear Lake with my parents so we had EVERYTHING in the car. I was just getting out of the shower when Chase came in my bathroom. He had just woke up and his whole face was red. He had a bloody nose and like any normal kid was wiping it all over. I held him in my wet arms and put a rag on his nose. I don't know if it is because I was cold and wet or because at this point I knew something had to be wrong, but it felt like forever for his bloody nose to stop. I finished up what I had to do that morning and put the kids in the car and headed to the doctor for my OB apt. Since I see a family doctor I just mentioned that I needed him to look at Chase while we were there. After my exam he asked me what was going on with Chase. I gave him the list, which at the time I was so embarrassed to tell him. I thought for sure he would think I was crazy when I told him my 2 yr old boy had bruises (what 2 yr old doesn't?) and one single bloody nose, and just a little on the tired side. He did a full physical exam and noticed little petacia (not sure of spelling, but these are just little spots caused by problems with the blood). They were all over his belly. I had noticed them in the bath tub a week or so before hand, but then it seems like they had went away so I forgot about them. After feeling his spleen and that it was enlarged my doctor ordered a CBC. He kept me very calm, in fact I still thought there was nothing wrong with him. He told me that it could be ITP which is a condition of the platelets in the blood (which help it to clot). He said that ITP causes low platelets and there is no treatment for it. You just have to wait for it to go away and be super careful when his platelet counts are low. ***I now know that he had a hunch that it was Leukemia but wanted to keep a hugely prego, mom of two, driving alone up north, calm. He knew that the lab results would come back before I reached the Salt Lake area and then he would deal with it then. I drove to Salt Lake pretty calm, but thinking that Chase's spleen was so big that at any time it could burst and we would be in big trouble. Little did I know that would become the least of my problems.
We reached the Salt Lake area and I had not heard from my doctor yet so I started to panic. He had told me that as soon as the result were back he would call because if it wasn't ITP then we would be going to Primary Children's for follow up's. Again, he never told me the alternative and for some reason I never asked. I called my doc and the nurse knew who I was and acted a little weird when she said, "Oh, he is in a room with a patient but I know he wants to talk to you so he will call you right back." The fact that the nurse was filled in on Chase's situation made me a little suspicious. I was at 5200 S. when he finally called me back. He asked where I was, and then said to head up to Primary's. I knew where it was but had not been there since I was young enough that my mom was driving me there. So I immediately got off the freeway to finish talking to him. He said that Primary's wanted to run more lab's and that we should go to the ER. He also told me not to panic, and to not have my husband turn around. Remember he is on his way to Palm Springs. So since he said this, I again thought it can't be too serious.
We got to the ER and it was FULL of sick people. I waited at the desk behind a lady who was complaining that her little girl had a fever and has been waiting for 2 hours. AHHH! First of all we were all healthy and on our way to vacation. The last thing I wanted was for anyone to be sick while we were at the lake. I didn't want to sit in that waiting room full of sick people. I walked up to the desk and told them Chase Prince was here from St. George. I also told them that while we waited we would be down the hall or outside. We were not waiting there. We walked away for about 5 min when the nurse said they were ready for us. WHAT? That lady said she had been waiting for 2 hours. Why us? Why so quick? Then I told myself that it was because all we needed was another CBC and we would be on our way. Once we got into the room it is all a blur to me. My mom came down because I called her and told her that they wanted to keep him overnight to give him blood. His red blood was too low. I needed somewhere for Abby to go, and thankfully my brother in law lives five minutes from the hospital and was there before we even got checked in. It is a night I will never forget. A night of confusion. A night of wonder. A night that changed our lives forever. And I still had no idea why we were really there.
They hooked Chase up to some antibiotic drip and again, I still do not know why. They never said anything, but that they wanted him to be protected from all the germs in the hospital because his blood levels were so low. (I look back and wonder how I was so blind to all that was going on around me). We walked up to the ICS floor and once we walked through those double doors where you have to wash your hands I knew something was up. I knew that this wasn't some little problem that would go away on it's own. I knew we must be in for the long haul. One nurse had said they were looking for "the C word." I think it was the mommy in me that didn't want to ask what "the C word" was so I just stayed blind to it all until the moment of walking through those doors. Chase's nurse for the night saw us coming down the hall. She took one look at my healthy little boy that was as happy as can be and said, "oh, he has the good kind." I tried to play along to get more info out of her, but she could tell I knew nothing. She went to find the medical assistant that was helping with Chase down in the ER. She came into our room and said to us, "they didn't tell you anything, did they?" The medical assistant had filled her in on what had happened downstairs and the nurse was livid. She couldn't believe that we had no idea what we were really doing there. Again, a lot of this was me being very blind and probably in denial about everything that was happening. In my mind we were still on our way for a vacation to Bear Lake and this was just a pit stop along the way. I couldn't have been more wrong. So after the nurse did the doctor's job and told me what was wrong and what our options were we settled down and tried to sleep. I am sure I didn't sleep a wink just wondering when Ashton would make it back (at this point I told him to get on a plane first thing in the morning and get here as quick as he could). I was wondering what kind of cancer did he have? Did he have the good kind that the nurse was talking about? I sent out a mass text to all my friends and family asking for prayers for Chase, while tears were streaming down my face. I laid in that hospital bed with my son just wondering why? Why did this all happen? That was the beginning of a long life of worry and wonder.
Chase was diagnosed 14 months ago. The first 6-7 months were hell. I hated every minute of it. Chase wasn't too pleased either. We had to drive weekly to Primary Children's. 5 hours up and 5 hours back. A lot of those trips he was fasting and that made it even harder. He has endured more than any child should ever have to. He is a three yr old that knows medical terms and knows that we wash our hands multiple times a day. He knows what germs are and that anywhere but our house is filled with them. We tell him in any public place "don't touch anything!" So now when we walk into a public place (which he didn't do for at least 7 months) and I say, "Chase, what do we touch?" He says back to me, "anything." So cute, but so sad. He is missing out on a big part of his childhood. One that he can not get back. But I hate to always be so negative because we have had so many blessing come to our family. Just about a month into treatment we were blessed with another little baby boy. He brought joy to our home that was very much needed. We have been touched by so many lives. There are good people in this world. You only hear about the bad ones. But I really do believe that the good out weigh the bad. I saw it first hand. So many people have reached out and helped our family.
Chase is still in treatment. His official diagnosis is pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He is now in maintenance and instead of weekly chemo at Primary's he only has monthly IV chemo. We do two months here and then one month up north. It has been a nice break to not have to drive every week. He takes daily chemo and other medications at home. He will continue to do this routine every day until Oct. of 2013. He has poison running through his blood a good portion of his childhood. He is so young he doesn't even know what cancer is. He doesn't even understand what death is. He doesn't realize how lucky he is to still be alive. I look at him every day and thank my Heavenly Father for keeping him here with me. I love this little boy to pieces and along with all the other little fighters out there he is the toughest kid I know. I LOVE YOU CHASE!!!
To read more about Chase and follow along with his progress you can visit his http://princehappyfamily.blogspot.com