A Weymouth family feels they now have their life back after their youngest son completed his last inpatient chemotherapy treatment for bone cancer (osteosarcoma) at the IWK Children’s Hospital.
After being in and out of the IWK since last April, it is ‘No Mo Chemo’ for 12-year-old Jared Mitchell. He was released for the final time from the Halifax hospital Friday afternoon, Jan. 11.
His father, Pastor Daren Mitchell said life for his family began to unravel in February 2012 when his son started to complain that his left femur hurt.
“We had just moved to Weymouth from Iowa in January and were settling into the community when Jared told us his left leg hurt,” said Mitchell.
“The doctor suspected something was wrong and sent Jared to Digby for x-rays, then to Yarmouth for an MRI and finally to the IWK.”
Mitchell was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and began chemotherapy treatment on April 26.
“When the doctor told me in April I had cancer I felt nothing but curiosity as to what it was all about,” Jared said. “I had no idea what I would have to go through or how violently sick I would become.”
Regularly scheduled injections of methotrexate challenged Jared to battle such side effects as low white blood cell count, low immunity, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, fevers and loss of appetite.
To combat these side effects anti-nausea drugs were administered to Jared causing him to sleep for long periods of time.
On July 24, Jared underwent surgery to remove the cancer. He had about 5 inches of his upper femur and part of his hip removed and replaced with metal.
Mitchell said the pathology report following surgery stated that the tissue was clear of any cancer so the prognosis was the best they could receive.
“We felt this was a turning point in Jared’s journey with cancer but he was faced with more rough days as he continued to receive chemo treatments following surgery,” Mitchell said.
Kristi Mitchell said extra days were spent at the IWK as her son would not be cleared to come home between treatments until the methotrexate was out of his system.
The Mitchell family spent Christmas at the IWK thankful they could all celebrate together. When Jared was released on Dec. 28 the family opened their presents at home in Weymouth.
On Jan. 11 Jared cleared the methotrexate from his system from his last round of chemo and was sent home.
Linden and Kyla Mitchell, Jared’s older siblings said they are very happy to have their brother back home.
“We are so excited to have Jared home,” they said. “It has been hard because we were home a lot and often had the responsibility of taking care of the house as well as seeing that our studies got done.”
“No mo chemo,” said his mother. “He's done with that part of his journey. Now we are entering a season of check-ups, tests, follow up surgeries and possible ongoing treatment from the effects of chemo.
What a blessing not to have any more chemo treatments she added.
Both Daren and Kristi Mitchell expressed their heartfelt gratitude for all the prayers, kindnesses, support, generosity and gifts from their family, friends, the church family and community members during this difficult experience.
“We are humbled, encouraged and blessed,” they said. “Even though we are not from Weymouth we have felt loved and supported as if we truly belonged here.”
“God used his Word, his church and our community to provide us with all we needed exactly when we needed it. We thank God for them.”
As they counted their blessings the Mitchells included the IWK among their huge blessings.
“The staff at the hospital was so very good to Jared and to us as a family as well.”
The Mitchells say they have been on a long journey and feel they can breathe now.
“It has been a season of life with a beginning and now the ending. It has been tough especially for Jared but we are looking forward to a better season as we have our life back.”