Prestyn is curled up on a recliner chair in one of the clinic’s quiet rooms.
A well-loved stuffed bear is tucked under his arm.
He is waiting for a blood transfusion. A tear trickles down his cheek when he admits that he is not feeling well today. “His counts are low,” Prestyn’s step-mom explains as she gently comforts him. Her obvious love for this little boy shows itself in the way she adjusts his blanket, offers him a drink, and by the anguish in her voice when she describes the moment they learned he was very sick.
After days of feeling exhausted, out of breath, and vaguely ill, tests revealed that Prestyn needed a blood transfusion. More testing confirmed he had Leukemia. “It was cancer,” Jeap says, covering her mouth with her hand to stifle a sob. Then she apologizes, “I don’t like him to see me cry.”
Sometime Jeap feels very alone in this world of chemotherapy, clinic visits, blood transfusions, and fear.
“It intimidates people,” she says. “Some friends you think are close, but they don’t want to surround themselves with this. They’re scared to imagine the pain of it.”
Things that matter to other people just aren’t important to Jeap anymore. Relationships have slipped away.
But both sides of this blended family, already cordial, have gotten closer in support of Prestyn and of each other. “He’s our priority,” Jeap readily acknowledges. Jeap manages weekly clinic day to help relieve the stress on Prestyn’s mother, who is juggling her job and three other young children. The extended family has also been wonderful, helping to care for Jeap’s younger daughter, and pitching in at home when needed.
The limit of this family’s endurance was tested again when Jeap’s beloved mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s doing well, though, and her prognosis is good.
Still, Jeap marvels at the things she’s thankful for. Simple things. Last weekend the family went to New Hampshire and spent the day at an indoor water park. Prestyn enjoyed himself. They have their good days. This just isn’t one of them.
Diagnosed with Leukemia at 8