I Didn’t Believe In Luck

When it comes to luck, you make your own.
~Bruce Springsteen

Over the course of my life, I have held the belief that good fortune was the result of hard work and timing.  I never really thought that luck played a part in life, love, or happiness.  However, over the course of the past several months, personal events have made me reevaluate what it means to be lucky.  Fair warning, this blog post is a detour from my usual posts about the wonderful things happening in our school district.  However, one of the goals of this blog is to “help families flourish” and, I believe, sharing this story will help accomplish that goal.  This is a personal account of my journey through the discovery and treatment of cancer, and how luck played a part in saving my son.  

Last December, we noticed that my youngest son, Noah, was growing at an abnormal rate.  He was eight, and was taller than his nine year old brother.  Likewise, we noticed that his mood was horrible and his voice was cracking at the most inopportune times.  After a few questions and a bit of investigation, it appeared that Noah had started going through puberty.  Now, it is pretty weird that an eight year old would be going through puberty, but what made it weirder is that he is the product of two late bloomers.  Being the responsible parents we are, we consulted our pediatrician to help guide us.  We were told that Noah’s early maturation was precocious puberty and easily addressed with hormone treatments.  However, to be on the safe side, the pediatrician sent us to an endocrinologist.  Both my wife and I didn’t think much of this and made an appointment, and Noah underwent a test, then another, and another.

In early January (a Monday), we received a phone call from the endocrinologist explaining that the cause of Noah’s precocious puberty wasn’t simply hormonal and that we needed to go directly to Lurie Children’s Hospital for more extensive tests.  On Wednesday, I drove with Noah to the hospital.  He spent two days on the 20th floor, enduring countless blood draws, CTs, and MRIs.  He was poked, prodded, and observed by what seemed like every doctor and nurse in the building.  Early Sunday, we were released and had an appointment to come back next week for surgery to have the tennis ball sized tumor removed from his adrenal gland.  Noah was in surgery for three hours, and when Dr. Grabowski emerged, she explained that his surgery was successful, the tumor was completely encapsulated, and there wasn’t any spillage.  This was good news because an encapsulated tumor indicated a lower likelihood that the cancer had spread to his blood or bones.

In the coming weeks, we would discover that the tumor was malignant and was responsible for the early onset puberty.  We would also come to find that Noah would need to be monitored for additional cancers for at least the next five years if not the rest of his life.  To me, this was the most important conversation we had with our medical professionals as we talked about Noah’s future and him growing up.  The conversation shifted from one of the despair of a child with cancer to a conversation about how he will manage his health as an adult.

Upon reflection of this life changing situation, I discovered what is meant by LUCK.  While it would be my preference to not have gone through this ordeal, it was clear that we had several serendipitous lucky breaks that changed my perspective.  If the precocious puberty began a year or two later, we would have simply dubbed Noah an early bloomer and not have sought medical attention.  If our wonderful pediatrician hadn’t referred us to an endocrinologist, we would have simply undergone hormone treatment and the tumor would continue to grow and spread.  We had the good luck to live near Chicago and get a referral to Lurie Children’s Hospital where they employ one of the best kidney surgeons in the world.  We were fortunate that Noah’s tumor was encapsulated and didn’t spread throughout his body.  Finally, we were lucky to have the support of family, friends, and our places of work that allowed us to be at Noah’s side every step of this journey.  

Suffice it to say, this has been a life altering experience, which has changed my perspective and my life forever.  One of the most significant ways I am different is my belief in the fact that luck does play a role in our lives.  We just need to look for it.      

Posted in Uncategorized
2 comments on “I Didn’t Believe In Luck
  1. Kim barker says:

    So glad Noah is thriving!!! I believe in luck too!

  2. KAty says:

    Wow…so great to hear he is okay. I too believe in luck:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Skip to toolbar