2020 Honored Patient: Lucas
For Spencer and Hannah of Sauk Rapids, Minn., the way their son’s pediatric cancer journey unfolded was a shock to them, but all too familiar to the families who have battled ahead of them. A seemingly innocent development suddenly turned serious.
Their young son, Lucas (now 5), formed a lump on his neck last summer. His primary care provider noticed his enlarged tonsils and recommended they be removed. Later, a call from Lucas’ ENT informed them that his tissue, analyzed at Mayo, indicated cancer. Lucas’ diagnosis was DLBCL-Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, also known as Non-Hodgkin's B-Cell Lymphoma.
Lucas has had four rounds of chemo that required him to stay in the hospital for a week at a time. He will have scans for the next two years before remission is declared, and then check-ins for the next 10 years.
While Lucas is now healthy and excited to be starting kindergarten at Pleasantview Elementary this fall, his journey to health has not been easy.
“In October of 2019, we almost lost Lucas to an infection that hospitalized him for over three weeks and at least 10 days were in PICU,” Spencer said. “Typhlitis and Clostridium usually culminate in a fatal outcome. So many teams were involved - surgery, infectious disease, hematology/oncology, pain management, dietitians, physical therapy, occupational therapy and dozens of nurses and volunteers. We are indebted to all those who helped save our boy during this time. Words will never fully express how thankful we are for these angels in scrubs.”
When Lucas’ scans came back looking like those of a healthy individual who has never been diagnosed with cancer, Hannah remembered the words of Dr. Nathan Gossai when he went over Lucas’ PET scan results with them.
“This is a big deal,” Dr. Gossai said. “Lucas is a fighter. He has fought off things that others would not have been able to and he has done it like it was no big deal. I want you two to appreciate this and it may take a while to do so. There is no evidence of cancer left in Lucas' body.”
Today, Lucas remains healthy and happy. He enjoys going to the splash pads, road tripping with his family and playing with his brother, Garrett. He likes to tinker and find out how things work in the world around him. Always exploring, Lucas is very methodical and uses logic and experimentation to get answers to his questions.
“Lucas has shown us what real strength looks like,” Spencer said. “We know that our lives will never go back to how they were. Perspectives change and that is ok. Some things increase in value, while others seem petty. The journey has been the hardest thing we have endured, but we made it through it with our family.”
A healthy perspective to match their son’s newfound physical health.