We have said to each other so many times how lucky we are to have 3 perfect kids.
Our first born, Zach, was born a whopping 10 pounds and is a second grader at Miamitown Elementary. He is kind, witty, athletic and very intelligent. In 2006, we welcomed our twins, Aaron and Katie. Born at 38 weeks, they were also born extremely healthy. Aaron at 8 pounds 4 ounces and Katie at 7 pounds 14 ounces. Since they were born, they have had the same very unique personalities that they still have today.
Aaron is our gentle giant. He is a head taller than Katie, but she bosses him around. He calls himself "tractor man" because he has developed a large obsession with tractors. He is quite mechanical like his father, having already taken the keyboard on our laptop apart with a screwdriver and dismantling parts of our vacuum cleaner.
Katie is our sweet little diva who keeps the boys in check. She weighs so little, but can wrestle with the best of them.
The last few years have been wonderful and hectic. The kids have kept us hopping (and at times exhausted) but we have always felt so fortunate at how beautiful, smart and healthy they are.
In July of 2009, on a Sunday night, Aaron woke up screaming and vomiting with a fever. We let it go for a few days thinking it was a virus. While the vomiting only lasted a little bit, the fever kept hanging on. We knew something was wrong, and took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, even though he never coughed or had a runny nose.
He recovered quickly, but a few weeks later the fever popped up again. We had him checked, but were told it was probably a virus again. However, no other symptoms besides the 3 day fever ever appeared.
Again, a few weeks later the fever was back. He complained of stomach aches and leg pains. After calling the doctor, they instructed us to call if it didn't go away or if it came back, but it was probably another virus.
In the meantime, Aaron's personality changed. He complained all the time and became moody. He was always so outgoing, but would now wake up saying "I crabby today." We noticed that even when there was no fever, he had severe night sweats.
On Friday, September 11th, we took Aaron to the doctor because the fever had come back. They did some bloodwork and an x-ray. He was admitted to the hospital that night because his hemoglobin (red blood cells) count was so low that they were considering a blood transfusion. On Sunday, September 13th, a hematologist felt a large palpable mass near Aaron's spleen. By Tuesday, he was in surgery for a biopsy and bone marrow sample. By Thursday, we had our diagnosis: stage III Neuroblastoma. Aaron had a 3.5 inch tumor in his abdomen that was at the time, inoperable. Aaron's cancer is high-risk due the unfavorable pathology of the tumor, and because the tumor itself has something called N-MYC gene amplification that makes it more resistant to treatment.
We currently have him enrolled in a clinical trial that involves about 6 rounds of intense chemotherapy, a dangerous tumor resection (which was very successful), 2 stem cell transplants, radiation treatment, and 6 months of maintenance therapy. We had been living the good life for several years, and in the course of a few days, the world had been pulled out from under our feet.
Our vibrant beautiful boy is now a sick oncology patient. As all parents, we worried about every cut and scrape; or if he was going to swallow Zach's Legos. While we were doing this, this tumor was secretly growing in his beautiful belly. The first week it made us physically sick to our stomachs. But, we are back on our feet and have been handling the fight ahead of us. We have wonderful family and friends who are helping us to take care of Zach and Katie while sweet Aaron is in the hospital. Our parish has arranged home-cooked meals two days a week. Brian is continuing to work while Maggie stays with Aaron during the day, and we switch off nights so we can both see the other kids. That is how quickly our whole life changed.
Zach said it best when he said, "Everything just feels so different." We hope this will just be a bump in Aaron's long life, but it's a scary one and it's not fair to our beautiful green-eyed boy. We don't understand it, but are looking to God to teach us to become better people because of it. We have already learned to hold on to each other tighter and more often, because you can't take anything for granted. Suddenly, all those stupid things you worry about or bicker about are put into perspective as you realize how precious children really are.
Aaron has always been such a bright light in the world. People have said his eyes look into your soul. His light will continue to shine through this war he has been drafted into.
March 17th, 2011 Aaron has been given NED status!! This means Aaron shows No Evidence of Disease for the first time since being diagnosed September of 2009. It has been a long fight for the Webb family but they are so happy to announce this news and can finally say Aaron is off treatment and cancer free.