When it comes to facing childhood cancer, mother knows best. Call it mother’s intuition, maternal instinct, however you refer to it, Four Diamonds mom, Jennifer, has it.
Mother's Intuition: A Childhood Cancer Diagnosis
At 2-years-old, Logan could be described as spunky. She loves being with her older brother, and spending time outside collecting what she refers to as “treasures” from nature.
In the beginning of 2023, Logan just kept getting sick, and her treasure hunts were now few and far between. When she went to the pediatrician, they would often treat the symptoms and explain that it was common to get sick often when attending day care as she did. Soon, there were an increasing number of trips to urgent care and the emergency room. She was also having trouble maintaining her blood sugar at night and was shaky and sweaty in the morning. When the blood sugar issues continued worsening, they revisited the pediatrician’s office and were referred to a local hospital, who did not think anything was abnormal, and sent them home.
It all came to a head one morning when Logan seemed sicker than she had ever been. When she went to urgent care, she was diagnosed with double pink eye, double ear infections and strep throat. Logan came home and Jennifer didn’t know what to do. She just knew something wasn’t right with Logan, and a mother knows best. She checked Logan’s blood sugar, and it was very low. She called the pediatrician and was told to get Logan to the hospital. Jennifer called an ambulance.
When they arrived at the hospital, they started running blood tests on Logan. One set of tests turned into another, and then another. Jennifer pulled up her hospital app to check Logan’s test results. What she saw next was a nightmare for a parent. Every single test had an alert on it indicating that the levels were abnormal. Her fears got the best of her, and she did some quick research and what she found fed into those fears—Logan might have leukemia. Eventually, two doctors came in to talk to the family, but she already knew what they were going to say. Mother’s intuition. While the doctors could not confirm with certainty, they were informed it was a very good possibility of cancer. The doctors had already reached out to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and Dr. Dan wanted to see Logan.
When they arrived at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, they walked into a room that was ready for Logan. While it wasn’t planned, there was a handmade pillowcase on the bed with dogs on it. “Dogs are her absolute favorite,” said Jennifer. “There was just something about that pillowcase that gave me the smile that I needed at that moment.” Jennifer told Logan, “they knew YOU were coming and how much you love dogs.” The pillowcase alone helped settle the family in for the rough road ahead facing childhood cancer.
A biopsy was done the following morning. When the results came back, Dr. Dan came to their room to discuss. Maternal instinct. Jennifer already knew what he was going to say, but hearing those words officially can take your breath away. “The diagnosis just catches you completely off-guard,” says Logan’s dad Matthew. “It was a very emotional first 24 hours for our family.” Logan and her family were now facing childhood cancer.
As Dr. Dan continued to go through all the information with the family, Logan’s parents remember him saying, “you will not receive a bill for Logan’s treatment.” Dr. Dan continued, “we need you two to focus on Logan, and her getting better.” The tears returned to Jennifer’s eyes. “You start preparing to fight,” she said. “You sit there thinking you will do whatever it takes so your child gets better. I thought to myself if we need to move, or sell the house, whatever we need to do, we will do it.” But Four Diamonds had Logan covered.
Jennifer broke down knowing that the costs were covered, and Matthew couldn’t believe the weight that had been taken off his family’s shoulders and they could put all their focus, time and energy on making sure Logan gets well. “The gift that Four Diamonds has given to our family; I don’t know what better gift we could have received,” said Jennifer. “Logan getting better is the ultimate gift, and the gift from Four Diamonds is what is helping us get there.”
Logan’s family has known the love and support of all the medical and psychosocial staff at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital. Now, they are about to experience being paired with a THON organization. With THON coming up soon, Dr. Dan has approved Logan to attend THON and she and her family are about to experience the love and support of 16,500 Penn State THON students.
An Update on the Journey: More Treasure Hunting Ahead
Through all of this, Logan is doing wonderfully and is currently in the maintenance stage of her chemotherapy. “The first six or seven months, you can’t see the end of treatment,” says Jennifer. “Now that she is back in school, she is well enough that we can see the road ahead.” As for Logan, she is enjoying being back in school with her friends. She wakes up each morning so excited for school, which makes her parents so happy. She had to learn how to sit, walk and crawl again after her initial treatments, and her parents are thrilled to see her getting back to where she once was, including going on her treasure hunts outside.