As someone who works in the medical field, Jaime Brown is used to sickness and pain. However, nothing could prepare her for the day a year ago when she found out her almost two-year-old son Dawson had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.
“Honestly, one of the hardest parts was telling his grandparents,” Jaime said. “He’s the only grandchild on one side of the family, so of course they didn’t want to believe it. We didn’t want to believe it, either.”
Perhaps most disconcerting of all was that Dawson didn’t look sick, Jaime said. She had her husband Cory only took their son to the doctor because he had begun to limp when he was 23 months old.
“I thought he had fallen and bumped his leg,” Jaime said. “I never imagined it was something serious.”
A specialist in Galveston initially prescribed antibiotics, thinking an infection had taken hold in Dawson’s leg. When the toddler developed a high fever though, he underwent surgery to try and locate the infection.
“I’ll never forget this … it was July 23 in 2009,” Jaime said. “After his tests came back abnormal, we were sent to Texas Children’s Hospital. Every time the hospital door opened and we waited for a doctor to come out and give us information, it was excruciating. When the diagnosis came back as ALL we were in shock for at least a week.”
Physicians at Texas Children’s prescribed a year-long course of antibiotics for Dawson. That meant the Beaumont family would drive some two hours to reach the hospital each week, then return home. According to his parents, Dawson started calling the medical device placed beneath his skin—known as a port—his “apple” because of its round design.
“Dawson also had to take steroids for 21 days,” Jaime said. “That was hard because it had weakened his veins and we literally had to hold him down so he would be still for the shots.”
Today, Dawson is on a maintenance plan of monthly visits to Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
“One of the best things about the hospital—and I’m so glad that’s where we were sent—is that all of the nurses know Dawson by name,” Jaime said. “They don’t have to look at his armband to know he’s Dawson.”
Or, more accurately “Awesome Dawson,” the family’s name for the young cancer patient.
“His treatment will last until the holidays of 2012, so we still have two more years to go,” Jaime said. “But he’s been amazing through all of this. His being positive has actually made it easier for the rest of us.”