Today CURE Childhood Cancer honors Caleb Nyberg. We wanted to share this sweet little angel’s story with you. If you want to share your story on how childhood cancer has personally affected you, please email us.
Caleb’s Story, written in his mothers words:
Our son Caleb has always been for the most part a happy energetic guy who loves to make people laugh. On February 2nd 2009 my whole family’s world changed, as we knew it. We decided to take Caleb to the doctor because of his allergies not seeming to get better. He had been on allergy medication and had nebulizer treatments since he was a baby to keep everything under control, but his cough just didn’t seem to be going away. The week before that, I had been told by a few people who don’t see him all the time that they thought that he seemed to be pale, I didn’t think a whole lot about it since it was winter time after all and he hadn’t been feeling all that great. I did notice however a few nose bleeds and that he seemed to be tired a lot, even asking to go and take naps. When the doctor walked in the door she noticed right away how pale he was and wanted to run blood test. She began examining him and feeling around on his belly and told us that she would be back and walked out the door with what seemed to be a grim face. Several minutes later she came back with his blood work results and informed us that we needed to go straight to the 4th floor at Dell Children’s Hospital and there was a doctor waiting for us. Of course I was very confused since I we came in for a cough and now we were being told to go to the hospital right away. I asked her what she was seeing that would send us to the hospital. She went to explain that his hemoglobin and platelet levels were extremely low and his white cell count was high, she went on to say that upon examination his liver and spleen were enlarged and she felt it could be leukemia.
We arrived at the hospital shortly after that and of course more test were performed. Within a few hours my world and life came to sudden halt with one sentence “This is what we feared, he has leukemia”. The next morning he had a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap to determine what type of leukemia and to see if the cancer cells were in his spinal fluid. He was given the diagnosis of pre-B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with standard risk and luckily the spinal fluid was free of cancer cells. We stayed in the hospital for 10 days following diagnosis and Caleb received numerous blood and platelet transfusions, a port-a-cath surgically placed in his chest and he immediately started chemotherapy. The first month was hard to say the least. The steroids alone were enough to make a person go crazy. He became angry all the time and swelled up like a balloon. He prevailed though and reached remission by day 29 and was able to start the next phase of treatment on time.
It has been a long stressful 8 months with several hospitals stays for fevers and viruses and delays here and there with treatment because of cell counts, but Caleb is now in the maintenance phase of treatment and will be for the next 3 years. He will take oral chemo everyday, receive chemo through his port every other week, takes steroids for 5 days every month and will receive spinal taps with chemo every 3 months. Remarkably he does most of it with a smile on his face and he takes everything with stride and rarely complains. It saddens me to know that he thinks all of this is normal since he really doesn’t know a different life, but of course none of this has stopped him from wanting to do everything that 4-year-old little boys do, plus most things that his 10 year old brother does.
I know in my heart he will beat this, he is a fighter, he doesn’t know any other way to be. Although I do not know what the future holds for Caleb as far as late term side effects go from his treatments, I do know today that he is ok, he has smiles, laughs, hugs and kisses and that is what I will focus on. We will deal with what may happen when it happens.