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Joshua Welgemoed

On the 2 October 2013 Joshua was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

We braced ourselves for treatment and survival rate was excellent. His Oncologist explained what to expect and length of treatment. Joshua was aware he would not be going to school for a couple of months. I explained to him about his disease and he said lets fight this.

He was positive right from the word go. I remember in hospital I asked him “so what colour we going to fight this Cancer with?” My first colour was blue as girls are pink.

He said “no mom let’s do Green”, so Green it is.

Two weeks into his treatment our laughter and hopes became clouded, it felt like the world had ended. Joshua contracted chicken pox, his symptoms never presented as normal chicken pox. His body was encrusted with millions of blisters, at first appearance it presented as if he had severe sun burn which developed into blisters. After a skin biopsy they discovered he had chicken pox.

His System started shutting down from the chicken pox virus and combination of prednisone which is used as part of treatment for leukaemia. On the 18 October he was intubated and they gave him 48 hrs, no promises. He fought like a true warrior and pulled through. Joshua’s body was encrusted in burn like blisters, almost like a burn victim and the days that followed were a nightmare.

They were not able to treat the leukaemia because of all his complications with various organs. Over the next 68 days in ICU he fought and Life threw everything his way, from lung infection, renal failure, sepsis, seizure’s and the list continues.

He never once gave up the fight, and medically he should not be here. He was on about 30 different Antibiotics and Drs never gave much hope. The power of Prayer, belief, Dr’s, amazing nursing staff, the will to live and support from family, friends and people we have never met pulled together and gave us all the strength to continue.

Joshua has fought a hard battle and continues to do so, surprising his doctors at every turn. On the 24th December he was released from hospital, he could not walk and the only words he could say was ‘thank you ‘and ‘Mom’.

31 December 2013 he was admitted for bone marrow test, Lumber Punch and a port inserted. We were anxious as he had to go under anesthetic and we were not sure how his lungs would manage. He was still very weak, weighing in at 20kg.

A week later we were given the good news he was in remission. Next step chemo treatment to free his body from this horrific bug. Rehabilitation is a slow process, learning to walk, speech therapy ect but in a month he has proven never to look at the negative. His vocabulary list has double over and over again and he is walking, with very stiff legs but he is doing it. He is weighing in at 25kg and managing well with his chemo.

He lost his memory, but slowly he is regaining and each day is progress. We have started from scratch regarding learning, here is a simple example we take for granted: what is grass? What colour is the sky and where is the sun? And the most important, what is your name? It is mind blowing what can happen in 68 days! 5 times during those days we were told Joshua has 24 hrs or 48 hrs or few hours. The emotional turmoil as parents is indescribable and should never be felt.

Never once did we tell Joshua to give up, we told him: “God gave you to us to look after and keep safe and the only place you are going is your home with Mommy and Daddy”. We told Joshua no matter what was wrong with him we will take care of him. We are very proud of his strength and true fighting spirit.

This is a very brief description of the journey he has travelled...

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