Braving a Battle of Their Own

Lexyn and his mom

Jono Nagel Stories

Ashley, a mom of two, started detailing her son’s journey with Langerhans cell histiocytosis after he was diagnosed in October of 2015. Amidst the day-to-day life, she shares Lexyn’s and their family’s experiences.

Amidst the many faces of cancer lies an array of hope.  For it’s within those faces, you continue to see sparkling eyes that can make your heart full for a lifetime.

Sitting in the pediatric oncology wing is an experience in itself.  Each child there is braving a battle of their own, a battle with life.  Some are dawning bald heads while others are sporting a full head of hair.  Some are grasping their emesis basins while others are playing in the room.  Some are crying out in tears while others are smiling your way.

Despite the physical variations that cancer takes on the outside, inside it takes on a very similar pathway for each of these innocent children: It’s breaking down their bodies.  One might look at the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl who is stacking blocks in the waiting room and wonder why she’d possibly be in an oncology wing.

What outsiders often forget, and don’t realize, is that cancer never looks alike for any two people. Just because on the outside somebody may look physically well, doesn’t mean that they aren’t fighting an internal battle for life.

I’ll never forget the day that Lexyn approached me and asked me why someone questioned if he really had cancer because he had all of his hair.

“That’s a good thing I have my hair, right?  Do they want me to look sick?” he asked.

I explained to him that sometimes people might not understand the internal battle his body is enduring, because it’s not always something people can physically see.  The bone pain that leads to tears, the post chemotherapy welting rashes and the gasping for air from uninterrupted vomiting—these are simply things outsiders don’t see.

To an 8-year-old who wants truthful answers, I often find myself having somewhat adult conversations with him.  I proceeded to tell him that many people, young and old, don’t realize that there are chemotherapy patients who don’t lose their hair; hair does not define one’s diagnosis nor one’s prognosis.

Lexyn asks many questions and, unfortunately, not all are this easy to answer.