A miracle boy is now in remission after struggling with leukemia and a mouth infection.

“Our lives were forever changed on December 23, 2018.” And, unfortunately, it was only the beginning.

I was assigned to a night shift an hour away from my sister’s house, where I dropped my kid, AJ. Two hours later, I received a call from her. She stated that AJ was not feeling or looking well. Kyesha, my sister, drove him to the emergency room.

Courtesy of Kimberly McNabb

I raced out, turned on my emergency lights, and drove to the hospital for an hour. I didn’t know what to think or say when I arrived and met my son. Tears began to stream down my cheeks. AJ’s skin was so blue that he appeared to be dead.

‘He’s so cold, we can’t get any blood from him,’ the nurse said as she approached me. We’ve tried everything there is to try. We’ll have to take him to Arkansas Children’s Hospital right away.’

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

All I remember is a nurse grabbing my arm and telling me to ‘pray for your son RIGHT NOW, and pray he makes it up there.’ I was completely deafeningly deafeningly deafeningly I had to travel back to Little Rock, Arkansas, where I had just arrived. And I needed to arrive before AJ arrived at the hospital. As I was driving over, I noticed a large automobile accident in front of me and thought to myself, ‘Oh my my, what could happen next?!’ I need to get to my son as soon as possible.’

As I drove, I remember praying. Because I wasn’t going to make it to the hospital in time, I called a friend and asked her to meet AJ there. AJ was still blue when I arrived at the hospital. His eyes were more open, and they were putting heat on him to attempt to warm him up so they could draw blood and do tests (to see what was going on).

It took almost two hours for blood to be drawn. Late that morning, the doctor came in and told me he thought AJ had leukemia. He wasn’t sure yet and planned to do additional tests.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

We found out at 4 p.m. on December 26, 2018. He had leukemia. We’d have to stay there until AJ’s temperature improved, according to the doctor. He still had a high temperature three weeks later and could not return home.

AJ wasn’t eating anything anymore, not even popsicles, I noticed. He kept scratching his nose, not because of snot in there, but because it itched. And, before his lip swelled, he kept licking his upper lip over and over again. I recall it as if yesterday, and I tried everything to help my son (besides giving him his medicine).

‘AJ has a strong, foul stench coming from his mouth,’ I would tell the nurses for a week. ‘I brush his teeth, but he still stinks!’ The on-call doctors were unconcerned about my concerns.

My son’s top lip had been swelled for weeks. They chose to give him Benadryl instead of the antibiotic because the doctor suspected he was allergic to it. It helped his lip shrink a little, but it swelled up significantly more after a few hours. It became much bigger the next day. His top lip began to bleed later that night, about midnight.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

My sister went to the front desk to inform them of the situation. I waited for his nurse for 20 minutes. I became irritated. I’d seen nurses doing nothing except sitting around. Before one of them got up and realized it was serious, I had to put on a show. They came down to examine his airway after receiving a med call. They didn’t find anything serious enough to transfer him to ICU, but they did give him oxygen.

Doctors entered the room about 6 a.m. and noticed that his top lip had become black. They rushed him to the intensive care unit. I’ll never forget Dr. Richter telling me on his first day in the ICU, “I have to remove his top lip.” It will fall off on its own if I don’t.’

Courtesy of Katrina Morris
Courtesy of Katrina Morris

My heartfelt as if it had stopped beating. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I was asked if I needed to leave the room by a nurse. ‘No, I’m not abandoning my child.’ A week later, he underwent various surgeries and treatments to remove his upper lip and ensure the illness didn’t spread.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

My youngster had to be sedated for over two months. He struggled for his life and battled the virus until it was eradicated. His face was so bloated that I didn’t recognize him at all. He looked like a zombie with half of his face missing. Every day, I felt as if I were in a dream. I’m not sure how I managed to stay upright.

Bailey, our nurse, is someone I’ll never forget. She was an expert at ensuring that AJ, Kyesha, and I were well-cared for, both psychologically and physically. While he was in the ICU, she was our fortunate charm.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

We all know that God is capable of performing miracles. They informed me that he was in total remission while still in the ICU! They’d never seen cancer go into remission so quickly in their lives! The doctor smiled and pushed the document in front of me to see it for myself. He’d be able to get out of the ICU!

AJ had gone two months without receiving any treatment. That day restored my faith in humanity. My youngster was given a second opportunity.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris
Courtesy of Katrina Morris

Things began to deteriorate a week again after leaving the ICU. He started vomiting blood and couldn’t keep any formula down through his G-Tube. They had to make an emergency call to the operation room to examine his stomach.

They indicated that because his body was under so much stress in the ICU, they would have to go inside and clip certain parts. His nutritionist had difficulty finding a formula that fit his body once that was taken care of. She assigned it to him once she discovered one he wouldn’t throw up in. A nurse unintentionally gave him the wrong formula two weeks after he had become accustomed to it. He couldn’t keep it down for long before he puked again.

His nutritionist happened to be passing by and noticed that the nurses had been feeding him the incorrect formula for a few days. I had to return to the hospital after receiving a call from my sister (she was watching him so I could go home and take care of some things). After everything he’d been through, I was furious that they hadn’t been more cautious! They’re still stumped as to who provided him the incorrect formula.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

When things improved for him, I had to learn how to care for his tracheotomy, including how to change it once a week and clean his neck properly. I was a nervous wreck. I’d never had to deal with a trach before, and I was praying AJ wouldn’t try to remove it from his neck.

They wanted to make sure AJ was discharged before his birthday on March 26, so they wanted to make sure I was thoroughly trained, and AJ was improving. We reached out to Fox 16 News and spoke with Susan. She was blown away by AJ’s story and wanted to document it before leaving.

On March 23, we were finally released. It was the most wonderful day we’d had in a long time. There were many crying and loving moments for the news to record as we left the hospital after being there for so long. AJ was thrilled! He was aware that we were about to return home.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris
Courtesy of Winsor Propes

After he was discharged, we still had to go to the hospital for his chemo and physical therapy visits. We got the wonderful news on September 23 that he was finally in ‘full remission.’ His hair began to regrow in October.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris
Courtesy of Katrina Morris

We visited with Dr. Richter, who, aside from God, was the one who saved his life, and he told us that AJ’s plastic surgery would be done in April 2020 by someone with whom he went to school. I visited with both of them to describe what he would look like and what they planned to do with his lip in detail. They were going to perform an abbe flap operation.

All that has occurred to my son has left me in shambles. My side of the family and his father’s side did not support us. I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t been for my sister, Kyesha. We’ve been through so much and still have faith and trust in God.

Courtesy of Katrina Morris

They usually raise money for the Wish Foundation, which helps children with cancer. However, AJ will not do so until his father signs the document. Getting him to sign has been difficult. So I’m hoping that his story gets out to assist him in going to Disney! That’s exactly what he intended to do.

Thank you for taking the time to go over our story. Because AJ is a miracle, I hope it inspires other families and children to believe. God has the power to turn things around!”

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