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Austin Douglas

Hometown: Olathe, Kansas

Type of cancer: Wilms Tumor

Diagnosed: May 2011

Hospital(s): Children's Mercy

Siblings: Luke (6), Preston (4), Jordan (2)

Pets: Buddy

Mother's Day 2011 began like any other but before bedtime our lives were flipped upside down. Around 4 in the afternoon my 2 year old son came to me crying and pointing to his right side. His vocabulary was very limited so he couldn't explain to me exactly what he was feeling. Within 5 minutes he was asleep in my arms. This was very unusual as he had stopped taking naps long before this day. Within the hour he began to throw up and refused to walk or stand on his own. In my heart I knew something was very wrong. But we are not quick to run to the doctor for anything, in fact, out of our 4 boys we had only gone to the doctor one time before for an eye infection. We watched over him for a few more hours. I had suspicions that he might be suffering from appendicitis. I knew that was not something to be left unattended so we finally decided to take him to Olathe Medical Centers ER at 8:30 that night. Long story short, 5 hours later we were being rushed to Children's Mercy. They had found a softball size tumor taking over his kidney. The tumor had burst. There are no words to express what the next 12 hours was like for us. He was soon taken to surgery to remove the tumor along with what was left of his kidney. In the past, I had shuddered at the thought of ever having to hand over my child and watch them be taken away to surgery, never imagining it would actually happen. Real life was even worse than the nightmares had been. But we were blessed with an amazing surgeon and the risky surgery went as good as possible. The next few days were quite stressful. The lower lobes of Austin's lungs had collapsed during surgery and his oxygen sats were staying pretty low. But he refused to keep any tubes on or near his face. We overheard the nurses talking about medical restraints. That was NOT going to happen. All we wanted to do was wrap him in our arms and assure him it was going to be ok, instead my husband and I spent the next few days pinning down his arms and denying his pleading requests to move the tubes and ultimately causing him pain. Austin has always been a stubborn fighter but finally those traits are being put to good use! He has completed radiation and is almost halfway through chemotherapy and I am so impressed with how he has handled it. He does not complain, he pushes through the pain. He wants to play with his brothers, so he does. Kids are so resilient, they don't let their minds hold them back. Adults know they "should" feel sick, in many different areas of life, so they succumb to their feelings more quickly. I want to be more like Austin! Our boys are 2,3,4, and 6 years old. Austin is now 3. I am so incredibly pleased with how Austin's brothers have dealt with this change in all of our lives. They have been so kind and caring and understanding. We are so grateful. Grateful that Austin didn't bleed to death the day the tumor burst, grateful that he made it off the operating table, grateful that his cancer hadn't metastasized, and grateful that his last CT scan came back clear. We are so full of thanks that we don't have any room left to feel pity or get caught up in the "why's". When we go to the hospital for chemo my heart breaks for the families we meet there, so much so, I almost forget that we are there ourselves. There is always a story more sad than ours. Austin's official diagnosis was a stage 3 wilms tumor. The doctors gave him good odds, an 80% chance of 5 year survival. But we are confident that those odds are really even better since we believe that 2,000 years ago his healing was already bought by the blood of Jesus.

Update on 12-26-11:   Austin completed his scheduled chemo and radiation and the results are back from his scan last week.  He is CANCER FREE!!  Praise the Lord!  They have scheduled his port removal in January.  Hallelujah!!

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