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In the early morning hours of November 16, 2020 Junko took TJ to the Balboa ED. He hadn't been sleeping, and was crying while guarding his belly. I was in the air on a plane from Japan, returning from a deployment onboard the USS America, leaving her alone with Sana and TJ.

A month prior TJ had refused to walk, and Junko had spent 14 hours in two hospitals having tests done with no diagnosis. Though he seemed to fully recover with no intervention Junko never stopped worrying about his symptoms. This meant she was primed to take him to the hospital with no delay.

After hours of testing they gave TJ a diagnosis of Leukemia. A few hours later I landed and recieved the call telling me to get to Balboa. Since then it's been a non-stop whirlwind, which I will do my best to condense in this post.

TJ's bloodwork was below the normal diagnostic criteria for Leukemia, but the Oncology doctor was extremely confident of what he was seeing under the microscope. We trusted him and scheduled TJ's first procedures for the next day.

On 17 November TJ had a lumbar puncture to take a cerebro-spinal fluid sample and push a dose of chemo into his cerebro-spinal fluid (as a precaution), take a bone marrow sample from his pelvis, and install a permanent IV port in his chest. He did extremely well, and recovered from these procedures with no complications.

After these procdures were done a better picture of what we were dealing with came out: TJ's Leukemia is acute lymphoblastic leukemia, specifically B-ALL. He was classified as CNS1, meaning there was no evidence of the presence of cancer cells in his cerebro-spinal fluid. Biopsy of his pelvic bone indicated that 80% of his bone marrow was cancer when treatment started. Junko's quick actions and demand that he be looked at caught the cancer as early as can be hoped for, giving TJ an excellent prognosis.

Regular chemotherapy started a few days later, and he needed a blood transfusion because he had become anemic. So far TJ has responded extremely well to all treatments; almost a textbook case from what I understand. He has begun recovering his old attitude (both good and bad; 3 year olds do NOT like being told they can't go outside and play for weeks at a time).

There is hope that he will be home for Thanksgiving; if everything keeps tracking as well as it has they tell us he will.

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