Caysen was not even 3 years old when a devastating leukemia diagnosis meant he would end up spending the next year in and out of the hospital for treatment.
In summer 2018, happy and easygoing Caysen was looking forward to becoming a big brother. His parents, Kate and Riley, were just weeks away from welcoming a baby girl to their family.
Caysen started complaining of leg pain, but, being a healthy, growing boy, Kate didn’t think much of it.
“I thought he was just having growing pains, but I wanted to be sure, so I made an appointment with his pediatrician,” said Kate.
Caysen got an exam and blood-draw, and they headed home to wait on the results when the doctor called and said they needed to turn around and come back.
An immediate life change
Riley left work to join Kate and Caysen back at the pediatrician’s office. The pediatrician reported that Caysen’s bloodwork was showing three markers to indicate he had leukemia and that they needed to go to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center immediately.
“I burst into tears,” Kate recalled. “hearing that news crushed me and was extremely overwhelming.”
At Children’s, doctors confirmed that Caysen had leukemia and would need to start treatment right away. He was admitted to the hospital the next day, where he stayed for almost two weeks.
An emotional roller coaster
A few days after Caysen returned home from the hospital, his baby sister Tatum was born. Shortly after, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) caseworker reached out to Kate.
“We were so happy of course,” said Kate, “But also devastated because of Caysen’s diagnosis. [BCBSNE] helped to coordinate the paperwork process, gave us information on support groups and other resources that made life a little easier during our son’s treatment – and adjusting to life with a newborn, as well. Our caseworker lent an ear to listen and helped ease a lot of our worries from an insurance standpoint.”
Caysen’s recovery journey
Kate remembers the first nine months of treatment being most aggressive – landing them in the hospital several times a week. Caysen lost his hair, broke a leg and stopped going to daycare, but he never lost his happy spark.
“Even with everything he was going through, Caysen was such a champ.”
After nearly two years, Caysen finished treatment on Nov. 5, 2020. He gets monthly lab checks to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned, but is otherwise thriving as a healthy 5-year-old who started kindergarten this year.
Caysen’s story is just one of many. What’s yours? You’re invited to share at NebraskaBlue.com/YourStory.