Above: Jeremiah with the toad he caught on July 4, 2010.
Welcome to Jeremiah's Page! The youngest of our six children, Jeremiah was diagnosed with Pre B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on April 19, 2005, at the age of 3. We appreciate your prayers to the One True God on Jeremiah's behalf.
Our journey into the world of childhood cancer began in March, 2005...only we didn't know it yet. Jeremiah had been weak and lethargic for a few weeks by then, and I noticed that every night, he would sweat profusely, and he felt warm to the touch. I began to take his temperature, only to find that indeed, he had a low-grade fever. After a week or so of this, I realized that none of the other kids had caught what he had, and on our way home from a homeschool convention where we were selling our books, we stopped at the emergency room at Washington Hospital in Washington, PA - about an hour from home - to have him checked over. The doctors there thought perhaps he had strep, and gave him an antibiotic. Two weeks later, he was no better. By this time, I took him to our pediatrician, Dr. Negrey. I told her what had been going on, and that I feared he might have leukemia, as he had all the symptoms, and that I had had an uncle who died from leukemia when I was a child. I asked her to test him for it. But, she looked him over and said she thought he was just fine, that we should go ahead on our business trip to the Philadelphia area, where I was scheduled to speak at a homeschool convention, and bring him back in Monday if he was still not doing better.
We never made it that far.
Within 3 days, Jeremiah had become so weak that he was sleeping about 18 hours per day. He was so weak that he could not stand, and had to be carried. He was yellow in color, and would not eat or drink. We decided to take him to the hospital immediately following the convention. But, as I returned to our booth after my last speaking engagement, I saw how much worse he looked, and we decided to just leave the convention and run him to the local E.R. in Pottstown, PA. We left our kids at the booth, and Keith drove Jeremiah and me to the Pottstown Medical Center. I remember vividly how I carried Jeremiah's limp, yellow little body through the breezeway and into the hospital, wondering if he would even come back out alive. When I walked in, I carried him over to the receptionist and demanded that they do bloodwork immediately. She took one look at Jeremiah and jumped up, almost dragging us back behind the double doors into the E.R. center.
After TEN tries of the nurse trying to get an IV into his tiny, dehydrated little arm, they finally called in the RECEPTIONIST to try. He got it in right away, and was so excited, he knocked it back out! A few more tries, and they had it back in. Jeremiah sobbed throughout it all, but was too weak to even cry aloud.
After a short while that seemed like an eternity, the nurse came back in, along with some other nurses and the receptionist. I could tell from the look on their faces, and by the fact that they brought Jeremiah a teddy bear, that it was bad.
They told us that we were being sent immediately by ambulance to CHOP - the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. I called Keith back at the convention with the other kids. They packed up and met us at the hospital in record time. I remember vividly riding in the ambulance with Jeremiah during the hour-long drive to CHOP while seeing our motorhome through the ambulance's back window, watching Keith and our other children waving at Jeremiah, as they could see him through the back window. He was so out of it, he could only stare off into space, surrounded by the teddy bear from the nurse, and the other one the ambulance attendant had given him.
When we arrived at CHOP, they immediately stuck him with another IV, and did a CBC. Shortly thereafter, they pulled Keith and me into a side room where the doctors scrubbed up to tell us that they thought that Jeremiah possibly had some sort of leukemia.
That was the end of life as we knew it. Our journey into the world of childhood cancer had begun.
After a few more days in CHOP, the diagnosis was confirmed. Jeremiah had leukemia, or cancer of the blood. In fact, his bone marrow aspirate showed 99% leukemia cells.
After 3 weeks at CHOP, which during Jeremiah's 12 year old sister, Haley, and I stayed with him while his daddy and other 4 siblings continued to travel every weekend to homeschool conventions around the country to sell our books (since this is how we make our living) and came back during the week to live in our motorhome in the hospital parking lot, since CHOP is located 7 hours from our home, Jeremiah was released on the day of our largest convention, in Harrisburg, PA. The cancer was now under control, but, he had put on 12 pounds in 3 weeks, and was having some other major complications from the steroids which had become part of his treatment, and 5 days after being discharged from CHOP, we were readmitted to the hospital that was to become out "regular hangout", Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, for 5 days, with kidney crystallization and other chemo-related problems. I remember taking him to the playroom there one day, where he saw his reflection in the mirror and buried his head in my lap sobbing, "I'm ugly and fat." Poor baby...the steroids were not a pretty drug.
As of now, Jeremiah is in remission. This does not mean his is cured, it simply means the cancer is diminishing. He will be in treatment for a total of 3 1/2 years, which is the standard protocol for boys with standard risk A.L.L. Things are looking better these days, and the Lord truly has been good to us. In fact, He has been so good, we would welcome you to read the "journal history (link below) to see just how much God blessed us during those "tough months" right after Jeremiah's diagnosis.
In June, 2008 Jeremiah finished up his required 3 1/2 years of chemotherapy. On July 28, 2008, he had surgery to have his mediport removed. We praise the Lord for His goodness in bringing Jeremiah through this battle, and appreciate your continued prayers as Jeremiah continues to be monitored for the next five years - and to hearing the words at that point, "He is cured!"
Sunday, November 4, 2012 9:42 PM CST
OK, forget the blog, I'm back here. As a prolific author, I'm used to having several books going at the same time. But now that I've also opened a wellness center after several years of education and certifications (see it at sandiqueenholisticwellness.com), I also have a blog of free tips there, and a facebook page, along with the facebook page for Queen Homeschool Supplies, etc. TOO many things to keep up with! And since this is the "original" site of Jeremiah's updates, I've decided to keep everything here after all, as far as family life goes.
Since Jeremiah's journey has been going on for so long, and so much of our family's lives have been woven into the story (how can one little boy's story NOT involve his entire family?), it seemed the logical place.
Health-wise, the Queen family continues to move forward. Some with baby steps, some with giant strides, but most in the direction we want to see. Some new revelations here and there, but after nearly 8 years of constant intervention, I must share that Jeremiah is doing wonderfully. God is good, no matter what the outcome, no matter what the circumstances. But in Jeremiah's case, God has GIVEN good as well. Good health. It sounds so odd to say it, but it's true, praise the Lord!
Tonight in church, my little guy stood on the stage and played his mandolin alongside his older siblings and a bunch of other young people in our church's stringed ensemble. It's so good to see him doing normal stuff like any other little boy.
Sometimes, I find myself caught off-guard by a response when someone who doesn't know all we've been through, like a customer I am speaking with who happens to see the cover of the book, "Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death: The Story of One Family's Journey Through Childhood Cancer," which I wrote about Jeremiah's battle, sitting one of our shelves. I've forgotten that the whole world does not already know. When we first began our journey, it was so difficult. Incorporating the "C-word" and all it's attachments, such as a new way of eating (organic with lots of veggies and minimal sugar), a new way of sleeping (on magnetic mattress pads and earthing sheets), a new way of bathing (without sodium laureth sulfate), a new way of drinking (treated water only), a new way of taking supplements (custom formulas, custom homeopathics, spagyric herbals, alkalizing agents, and so much more I can't even begin to list it), a new way of designing our home (with a new kitchen that has a custom-designed "supplement pantry," with the shelves measured out to the exact fit of the most frequently-used bottles, which are stocked by the shelf-ful), and so much more all seemed overwhelming back then. I remember feeling like I would never again feel like a "normal" family, and that our lives would never again be "normal."
But, like Patsy Clairmont once said, "Normal is just a setting on your dryer."
We have a new normal, and it encompasses all the things listed above.
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