Alex J Green, Forever in our Hearts ...
             
                                                                                                                       Photos courtesy of Christy Jenkins Photography

Alex's story

Thank you so much to Steven Denhup for creating this website on behalf of Alex and our family.  We are so very grateful to have so many friends and family who love and care about us so much!  Below is the story of how we got to where we are now...thank you for taking the time to listen.  We have added a "Part Three" as we begin our second battle with Alex's recurrence.
 
                                                            

PART ONE
Alexander Jack Green, a.k.a  Alex, was born to us, Derek and Jenni Green, April 8th, 2004.  He was a healthy boy weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs 14 oz!  He let out a loud burp on the weighing table, our OB said he would be a Frat boy one day, I remember thinking how I hoped not!  He was a
beautiful baby with a clear complexion, thin red lips, and the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen! 

He was a wonderful, happy baby, who was always full of smiles.  I fondly remember nights when Derek would give him the last bottle of the day, Alex would let out one last burp and then would sleepily fall fast asleep on Derek’s chest.  One of my favorite things to do was to lie down beside him, facing him, and literally watch him fall asleep.  His eyes would stare aimlessly at a nearby wall, he would start to blink slowly at first and then for longer periods of time until he was in a deep sleep.

From the time that Alex starting talking, I began to call him my Angel.  He was my Angel and he was Daddy’s buddy.  I would ask him, “Alex, are you my Angel?”  He would say with a grin, “Yes, and Daddy’s buddy.”  To this day it couldn’t be truer.  He is a sweet boy through and through, he is sensitive and shy, but extremely smart and curious.  He is very determined in that when he wants to learn to do something he will try over and over, all day if he has to, until he has accomplished what he wanted to do.  His competitive spirit sometimes frustrates and discourages him, but he knows that all it takes is practice, and he can do anything!

A few Saturdays ago, Saturday Oct. 10th to be exact, our world was turned upside down.   What was supposed to be a fun-filled weekend quickly turned into the worst weekend of our life.  Derek took Alex Saturday morning to the doctor because he had a slight cough, he also had a few bumps like whiteheads which we thought might be maluscum, and we wanted to follow up on his belly looking extended (something we were used to because he had always had constipation issues since he was born).   It really wasn’t an appointment that we were too concerned about.  We followed our Pediatrician's guidance by doing a few things to try to relieve Alex’ tummy, but when those didn’t work, we took Alex to the hospital as suggested to find out just how much blockage he had.

We got to Fauquier Hospital at 5:00 PM Saturday evening.  They wanted to do an X-ray to get a look at his bowels…something that we had done in the past as well.  After the X-ray, the doctor said that they wanted to do a CT scan because they saw some spots in his lungs and they thought it might be pneumonia.  At this point we weren’t too upset because Alex’ only symptom was a slight cough…other than that he was completely healthy…we were actually a little surprised that he could possibly have pneumonia but didn’t think too much of it.  As time went by we started to get a little more nervous.  We reassured each other that it was taking awhile to get to go home just because the hospital was starting to get busy.  I don’t even know what time it was, perhaps around 10:00 PM or so, the doctor and another staff member asked to speak to Derek and I in another room.  My heart stopped…my chest felt hot and I immediately knew something was wrong.  What he was about to say I would have never expected, out of anything in the world that he could have said, I never would have dreamed  that he would say our son had Cancer. 

From that point on everything was a blur; all I could focus on was that word…Cancer.  I shook my head in disbelief; Derek and I were in such shock.  All I could think about over and over was that Alex was so healthy…if you needed a poster child for a healthy active boy, Alex was it.  He is so strong for his age, so athletic, coordinated, and full of energy, it was like a horrible dream that hasn’t yet gone away.  We were given some time but all we wanted to do was to get back in the other room with our baby.  Our sweet blue eyed boy who was sleeping peacefully in the hospital bed, so innocent and unknowing to all that would be in store for us in the months to come.

Late Saturday night Alex and Derek got into an Ambulance while Derek’s parents and I followed closely behind as we made our way to Fairfax Children’s Hospital.  It was a long ride, one which apparently Alex thought was pretty cool.  The guys in the back I guess were showing Alex all of the cool gadgets that they had and kept him pretty entertained.  We got to the hospital and made it to our room, one which has now become our home these past 2 weeks.  

We are slowly getting past the initial shock and are more and more ready to do what we have to do to get Alex through this.  We are lucky to have so many friends and family members close to us, so many people who care about us and are there for us.  We know in our hearts that while this is going to be a long hard hill for us to climb, that we will do this and we will get past this, for Alex.

                                                
                    Alex and Daddy were up early playing Mario Baseball and Alex was beating daddy (10/15/2009).   


PART TWO

Alex went had his last treatment in April 2010 and we found out in May (after our return from our Make-a-Wish trip to Disney) that Alex was in remission.  The feeling as I believe described before was both wonderful but also scary at the same time.  While we were able to remove his dreaded port and Alex's hair so beautifully started to return, it was difficult to transition from seeing doctors daily and getting scans often to only going every 3 months.  We were thankful for that (Alex most certainly was) however it was difficult to transition to that as every little cough, cold, bruise, etc made us nervous.  That said, over time that lessened more and more, we had overcome many obstacles as a family and things were good.  Alex was back to his very active self by playing flag football, basketball, and taking up new sports, like snowboarding, skateboarding, and even trying to build mulch ramps in his PawPaw Smoot's backyard to jump with his bike as inspired by the latest x-games.  Our summers were filled with swimming in the pool, a trip to the beach, and playing with cousins, family, and friends.  While the scanxiety that came near the 3 month mark of his scans was tough, we started to get used to the "all is stable" report.  We even just recently eagerly anticipated the 2-year mark of Alex's remission and were ready to start the every 6 month appts.  Unfortunately, that was all changed again as we waited for the last 3 month scan back in January.  We had an uneasy feeling because things didnt go as normal in the hospital when Alex was having his scans done.  Contrast was ordered for a clearer picture which wasnt
the "plan" and made us uneasy.  Our uneasiness unfortunately was confirmed when we learned that our baby had relapsed.

All of the feelings that we had that first time we were told, "Your son has Cancer", immediately came back.  My chest got hot, my breath was short, and I fell over my desk and cried.  Both Derek and I left work early that day and went home to try to comprehend what just happened and to try to figure out how we could gain composure for the kids to not worry them.  As advised from our Oncologist and a friend with Life With Cancer, we decided to only tell Alex that a bump was found in his last picture and that he would have to have surgery to remove it.  He was pretty upset about that at first but eventually was ok and started focusing on the good things at the hospital (ie. Wii, endless ice cream and pizza, etc).  We waited a few weeks as to not overwhelm him and then another weekend talked to Alex about the bump being cancer and that we were going to have to have chemotherapy medicine again to get rid of it.  That, much to our surprise went a little better than we thought.  While he was very upset, he actually did not remember alot of what happened before, and he had a lot of questions.  He again focused on the good things at the hospital and tried to cope that way.  His response definitely helped Derek and I a little.  As much as we were and are devastated, Alex's
braveness and courage inspires us to be the same way.  His strength strenghthens us, his smile fills our heart with moments of joy, and his resilience inspires us to be stronger. 

As we now sit in the hospital - once again our home away from home - we worry about what the future brings but dont focus on that.  We focus on our family, we focus on Alex, and Derek and I focus on talking better than we had the first time around about our feelings, fears, and how we are coping.  I am so proud of our family, I am so proud of my husband, and I especially am so proud of both of our boys.  We are so blessed to have each other and with each small miracle that Alex receives in his healing, we are thankful to God and the wonderful (many) Doctors that love him so much.

The road facing Cancer is scary, uncertain, and unfair; Cancer takes away from everyone, and what it takes it doesnt give back; but with that said, we will once again get through this and we will do whatever it is that we need to do, for our sweet strong Alex.

Thank you as always for your well wishes and prayers.  We will continue to post updates on Alex's progress as we go through this journey once again.


PART THREE

Alex was considered in remission and "NED" in September of 2012, that was very short lived however as in March 2013 we learned that Alex had once again relapsed.  This time, the relapse was very different, we knew what it meant according to science and medicine...it meant there was no "known" cure for his tumor...that we would enter the world of clinical trials (the part of the cancer books I always skipped because I didn't want to think about having to do that).  It meant Alex would have to start a treatment again and that his cancer was more aggressive than we thought.

As we continue living our lives battling Alex's cancer, we hold on to very basic virtues:

*We treasure each and every moment we are given with our family
*We try to always look for the positive and to try to always find hope (even when it's hard)
*We don't take each other or the little things for granted
        and finally
*We vow to not only fight for Alex, but to now join the many other people who are trying to create awareness to the lack of funding for pediatric cancer research and to one day be a part of  the group who can say we helped to cure childhood cancer!

This battle is relentless, exhausting, heartbreaking, but we stand strong and fight for our baby, no matter what that might mean.  We are so blessed to have Alex and Jacob, both in their own ways are so amazing and we are so in love with our children (as every parent is).  We pray for strength, comfort, peace, and healing...

Thank you for support and prayers.

   


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