Most of you may know the story that changed my family's lives forever. In 2017, Caleb was placed into a medically-induced coma due to complications from severe septic shock and cardiogenic shock secondary to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I stayed by his side for 5 months while he fought countless infections and hardships. During these months, I was let go from my teaching job, which led our family into financial crisis.
Later that same year, Caleb returned to college, hoping to return to a normal life; however, his AML relapsed. After another 3 month hospitalization, Caleb was transferred to Boston Children's for a bone marrow transplant. During these 2 months, Caleb's older brother was also undergoing bmt--that is, basic military training for the United States Air Force. For these two months, I stayed by Caleb's side again and for the first time unable to be there for my oldest son. Both completed their own bmt's, and we were given yet another chance for normalcy.
Cancer treatments save lives, but the risk involved is what comes in the years that follow. Caleb has chronic graft-vs-host disease of the eyes, mouth, and skin due to unmatched, unrelated donor cells. He is managing these complications with oral and IV immunosuppressants, which makes the current COVID-19 situation all the more serious. Caleb has undergone total hip replacements bilaterally, is scheduled for partial shoulder replacement in April 2021, and will need total knee replacements bilaterally after he recovers. The chemo treatments also caused partial deafness of the left ear and tinnitus, which makes it difficult for him to continue his avid drumming. Because of all the physical and mental trauma endured, Caleb is working hard to improve his mental health.
If you know Caleb, you probably imagine him with either a book or two in his hands or, if his hands are empty, he is drumming on anything and everything. He hopes to make a difference one day in politics, and is grateful for his education through Clark University. I walk for TEAM CALEB so that he is reminded that he is not alone in this.