Axton’s Story: In the Fight of His Life

What started as a suspected case of pneumonia for little Axton Myers turned out to be his parents’ worst nightmare. The spunky 2-year-old with boundless energy, who loves puzzles, reading, and playing with his grandfather, began having trouble breathing. After multiple rounds of tests, scans and X-rays, doctors at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha discovered that Axton had developed a mass of cancer cells that were pressing on his airway and windpipe. Sarah Myers, Axton’s mother, vividly remembers holding Axton on her lap when doctors explained that her little boy, her only child, had T-cell leukemia.

The next thing Sarah and her husband, Jason, remember is Axton being whisked off to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) so doctors could immediately start working on dissolving Axton’s mass. While he was there, he had a central line placed and underwent a procedure called apheresis, where a patient’s blood is essentially “cleaned.”
“It was such a scary experience, but we knew Axton was in the best of hands,” said Sarah. “The team was patient with us, explaining everything that was happening and why, and willing to answer our questions, even if we asked them 100 times.”

Axton started chemotherapy on his second day in the PICU and entered into what is referred to as the induction period, a 10 to 12 month period of procedures cancer patients go through before entering into a maintenance phase. He was in the hospital for almost an entire month and then was able to go home.
After the first month of chemotherapy, Sarah received the wonderful news that Axton was in remission, something that can sometimes take several months. Because Axton was doing so well with his treatment, he was saved from having to receive any radiation.

“The whole process has been extremely regimented, and Children’s made it so easy by mapping it out for us,” said Sarah. “In addition to providing a binder of detailed materials outlining what to expect and when, Children’s also provided access to an educator, who made everything a little less overwhelming.”

Today, almost two years into his journey, Axton is now in the maintenance phase and his treatments are not as intense. He will continue his treatments until February 2023.

“He has been a real trooper through it all and doesn’t mind going to the hospital for his routine spinal taps and infusions,” said Sarah. “According to his doctor, he is doing amazingly well and getting through the treatments with ‘flying colors.’ His dad and I are so grateful.”

Sarah said she’s also thankful for the compassion and care shown to her family at Children’s.

“I’ve never been in a situation where health care was so incredibly loving and comfortable to be around. And the team is fighting with us. I’ve never experienced that before. I didn’t know that there was such a thing until I was put into this situation. And when I say my team, it warms my heart because they have been and continue to be with us every step of the way,” she said. “Everyone we encountered, from the oncologists, nurses, social workers, child life specialists and the chaplains, has been outstanding, and we are so fortunate to have this type of support network.”

When asked about advice she would give other parents going through a similar cancer journey, Sarah says to “accept help” and, above all else, “stay positive for both you and your child.”

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