It started off with pain in his leg and we thought it was growing pains, until he woke up screaming and we rushed him to the hospital. They said the word “leukemia.” At that time I didn’t know what it was. As the doctors went on, they said, “It’s a form of cancer and it has an 80 percent cure rate and Jeziah is going to be fine.” It was November 16th, 2011.
Jeziah did very well with tolerating the chemotherapy and various medications and with his smile, he’d say, “Mom, I’m gonna be okay, don’t worry, don’t cry.” He was very protective over my heart and over his family as a whole. That particular treatment was supposed to run a year. For the first few months we had to go in every week and then it went to every two weeks and then once a month. He went into remission on my birthday, December 20th and they said it was incredibly fast. Everything was pretty easy the first year.
The next year, Jeziah relapsed. Next, there were somewhere in the range of 10-12 chemotherapies that were tried on him. There were a lot of inpatient stays and time away from my other two children, with my husband watching the other boys while I stayed at the hospital.
I would go to work from the hospital and come right back. Often there would be weeks before I would see my other two boys. Sometimes they would come to the hospital with me and the nurses would bring in a bunch of the reclining chairs so they could sleep near their brother. Every day, when I would get off of work, I would rush to the hospital and climb up into bed next to Jeziah. We would just talk everything out. We called it our “snuggle time.” We would play card games, board games, video games, listen to music and dance around the room.
Jeziah began to get worse. A day before we were supposed to go into his bone marrow transplant they said he had “relapsed.” I had to take off so much time from work and it was hard to keep up on regular bills, electricity, car notes and things like that. We started to struggle financially.
That’s when Mary Beth from There With Care called me. At the time, I had not been to work for a week and I was completely stressed about how I was going to keep my lights on at home and continue to feed growing boys. She called and asked me what we needed at and at the time, my head was spinning and I couldn’t focus on one thing.
Mary Beth went through questions asking what we needed help with and that got me through the entire process. She said, “I know you haven’t been able to work in awhile, so what we’re going to do is pay your electricity bill and pay your rent.” I ended up balling for at least an hour after I hung up, because I truly did not know what I was going to do. I had thought I would have to move in with my mother and put all of our things in storage. I was also having issues with my car, my husband lost his job and it was extremely stressful, on top of trying to get Jeziah back and forth to the doctor appointments, with just one vehicle, that was now broken.
So There With Care helped get our truck fixed. We met our volunteer, Gary, who brought groceries by so that I didn’t have to worry about the necessary things like getting to a grocery store to get food together to feed my boys. They also sent a cleaning crew by to help deep clean my home, so that it was safe and healthy for Jeziah to be in.
A lot of times Mary Beth would call and just listen. I didn’t realize how important that was. There With Care saved my family. We didn’t have to be broken up with some staying here and some staying there, because we were able to keep our home. They fed us and were always there for us. They allowed me to be where I need to be, instead of where I had to be. Jeziah never went back into remission. He started having issues with walking and was in a lot of pain. Jeziah ended up back in the hospital. We gathered all of our family in his room, just to let them know what was going on, and after the meeting…he took his last breath. Earlier that day, I said, “I love you Jeziah.” And he said, “Yes, Mamma I know. I love you too.” What an amazing little boy he was. Sweet natured, funny. Genuine. Beautiful. Awesome presence. A delight. So bright. He was my peace. I miss him so much, and now that peace is gone.