16-year-old Jonathan will be going into his junior year at Mormon Trail High School this fall. He is a tough kid who is passionate about football, golf, and fishing.
In March of this year, Jonathan's mom noticed that he was continually sick and was getting worse as the weeks passed. Originally, doctors thought Jonathan was ill with pneumonia. He was given antibiotics and steroids and told to rest. Two days later, Jonathan was struggling to breathe. His mom took him to the nearest emergency department in Osceola. Additional tests and imaging revealed a large mass in his chest.
"I was in shock. They threw so much information at me in such a short amount of time," said Jonathan's mom, Cynthia. "While we were in Osceola, the medical team pulled me out of the room, showed me the mass that they found, and explained his diagnosis. I then broke the news to Jonathan that he had lymphoma."
Jonathan was transferred to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines where his diagnosis was confirmed as T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and treatment began. Currently, Jonathan receives weekly chemotherapy treatments at the clinic plus chemotherapy at home. Treatment will last between 2-3 years. Overall, Jonathan has been doing well with such a drastic change to his life. The chemotherapy makes him sick and he is sad to be missing out on driving and spending time with his friends, but he is choosing to focus on the positives and is hopeful he will be able to participate in school and even football this fall.
"Jonathan is the oldest of five children. His younger siblings are fearful, but look up to their big brother who has been Mr. Brave and Strong for his siblings," said Cynthia. "He has had to grow up pretty quickly and I am proud of how he has handled himself for what he has had to go through."
Jonathan has formed a special bond with his oncologist, Dr. Woods-Swafford. She is able to manage his spunky 16-year-old self and Jonathan has grown quite fond of her. He likes to pick on her but also respects her greatly. Jonathan and his family are thankful for the care they have received at Blank Children's Hospital. While Jonathan is battling the cancer directly, the disease has affected his entire family.
"We have loved our time at Blank Children's. Whenever we have questions, they are quick to give us answers and explain why they are doing all of the things that they are doing," said Cynthia. "The Child Life Specialists have been extremely helpful, especially with Jonathan's younger siblings. They have helped them understand what their brother is going through. We are learning to take things one day at a time, one treatment at a time, and to focus on the positives amid hard circumstances."