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Cole Bethel
1 day old at diagnosis
Roger Maris Cancer Center - Fargo, ND
Merit Care Hospital in Fargo ND

Hi my name is Cole Bethel, I am now almost 10 years old. I had cancer when I was a newborn baby. I just know what everyone has told me about what I went through. When I was less than 12 hours old the doctor and nurse in the hospital in Park Rapids found that I was not breathing correctly. They told my family I would be better in the pediatric unit in Fargo. So, I got to fly in an air ambulance to Fargo. I stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks.

They found the cancer on a test called a CT scan. It was the size of my mom’s fist in my little body. I was only 8lbs, but the doctors said that this was a good thing; my size would help me while I fought this cancer. I had a tumor called Neuroblastoma; it is a cancer of the nervous system. I was lucky they caught mine in time! I had my first surgery on day 5 of life, and I started chemo on the 7 th day of life. Wow a whole week old!

I did not do well; the first round of chemo hit me hard, and I was moved to an isolation room. My family had to put on gowns, booties, masks and gloves to be by me. Everyday the doctors would tell my parents he is not strong enough to go home, but soon. It took a week for my white blood cell counts to come back up. At first, the doctors thought that I may never have an immune system because my counts were at 0 for so long; but, I surprised them all, and came through that round of chemo. I also had a round of small radiation (since I was, so small, the doctors really did not have a protocol for how much to give me).

I was now a month old, and getting a little stronger. They tried to put a port in, but that did not work, so I ended up with a PIC line, and my mom did my lab draws for the hospital. She also gave me shots everyday in the leg, so I would continue to keep my white blood cell counts up to fight off infection.

I had my second round of chemo, and came home the night before Christmas. I was going to be home for a three week period with my next round of chemo scheduled in mid January, and three weeks later I was back for round 4 at the beginning of February. The tumor was shrinking, and I was doing really well for as small as I was. I had gained back the weight I lost throughout the first round, and now I was putting on a little more weight. The doctors were pleased, and scheduled my surgery for February 22. I was in the operating room for just over 2 hours and came through surgery just fine. It wasn’t until I woke up that the doctors discovered that the nerve ending they had to cut while in surgery gave me Horners Syndrome. So now I only sweat on one side of my body and my eyes dilate differently, but other than that I am a very healthy, happy 4th grader at Century Elementary (Park Rapids).

I owe my recovery to the doctors and nurses that helped me, to my family that stuck by me through my whole cancer process, to all the people that prayed for me, and above all to God, because I am special and I know he has a bigger plan for my life.