Nathan’s Story – by Ziva Lev (Nathan’s mom)
Nathan Lev is a handsome, smart, and funny 8–year–old boy. Until 2/14/10, he had a seemingly average life: going to school, playing with friends, and doing many fun activities that he enjoyed. On 2/14/10, Nathan came home from school throwing up and with a 105º fever. I took him to the doctor to run blood tests, which showed a low white cell count, it looked like cancer.
We rushed him to the Emergency on a cold Friday night, where a check for cancer came back negative. However, the high fever continued and he developed a lung infection. They tried to stabilize him with cocktails of antibiotics, iron and oxygen. He was so sick he spent 8 weeks in ICU with phenomena and a collapsed lung, hooked up to a chest pump, still running a consistent fever of 103º. His white blood counts dropped again and he was transferred to Children's Hospital for a bone marrow biopsy to check for leukemia. I remember sitting in the recovery room, watching Nathan sleep and thinking, “I am sitting here waiting to hear if my little boy has cancer!”, my head was twisting!!! The test came back negative and we were so relieved, though the word " Cancer" haunted me.
Nathan recovered only to relapsed again, on 5/24/10, my daughter Abby’s 11th birthday, Nathan got sick again. As I was driving him to the ER, he was incoherent, confused, and semi–conscious. I thought I was going to lose my son; I thought he was going to die that day. On May 29, 2010, the doctor decided to run a bilateral bone marrow biopsy again, which this time revealed that Nathan has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a blood cancer, in over 90% of his bone marrow. The treatment is 3½ to 4 years long, intense and hard, it has caused many other complications. Soon after Nathan started treatment, blood clots formed in his brain. His head hurt so much, it took morphine to settle it down. He now depends on daily shots of blood thinners to avoid a stroke.
We are living day by day, with many runs to the clinic, hospital, OR, and pharmacy. Chemo, platelets and blood transfusions are a reality to our lives. From having to be at the hospital so much and the expenses that came with it, we fell into a major financial hole that we are struggling to climb out of. We are saddened and scared of so many things, but also grateful that we know what the problem is so we can fight and overcome it. Sammy, Maya, Abby and I stand side by side with Nathan to help him get through this and have a long, healthy, and happy life.
Please hug your kids, your spouse, yourself, because life is unpredictable. We must enjoy the gift of the present, the here and now.
Thank you for your compassion,
Ziva Lev, Nathan's mom
Please click here for information on how to help Nathan.