Finally Hit 10 years Cancer-Free

Junior was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma at the age of 5

Cassandra Krebs, Staff Writer

photo courtesy of Erin Bedell

Always having to be put in machines, being tested over and over again, and doctors spoke to the parents telling them they don’t know what was wrong with him at first was worrisome. Then realizing that someone’s kid had a tumor on his cheek that would lead to cancer. This was the beginning of a long journey for Bedell’s family in having to fight cancer that was affecting their son.

After weeks and weeks of testing requiring various appointments and being hooked up to a variety of machines, 5-year-old Alexander Bedell”s worst fear came true: he had cancer.

What started out as a tumor in his cheek led to chemotherapy, radiation and various kinds of medication. Young Alexander was poked and prodded and while he was going through physical treatment could not move out of bed. He was a little having to deal with a big problem

It was learned that Alexander had Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system and if not treated can be very dangerous. This mainly affects the bowels and can form a tumor on the abdomen. Most cases can be treated with intensive chemotherapy and radiation, which will increase the survival rate. This means it damages the part of the body that helps prevent infectious diseases and anything that can hurt the body. While it’s not very common in the US, Burkitt’s Lymphoma only has 1,200 cases are seen a year and about 59% of these cases are adults over the age of 40 according to WebMD. Bedell had to go through many of these steps to help treat this type of cancer.

“I mostly remember the good things like when I would have water fights using syringes with the nurses,” Alexander Bedell said. “Except I do remember not being able to move at night and having to use the restroom.”

“After the first few days of chemo, things went so well we were hopeful he would not have severe reactions to the treatments,” Bedell’s mother Erin said. “That didn’t happen. The next few weeks would be almost unbearable. He couldn’t eat and his intestines shut down.”

Alexander had to sit through hours of intense chemotherapy because they have to treat his body through chemical substances, which takes time. From the chemo, his white blood cells were decreasing. He also had to be put on many different kinds of medication. They tried different kinds of medicine to see what could help him.

“At first he had gone through chemo and they were hopeful because he started to get better, but then they started leading to infections and other issues,” Bedell’s father Ben said. “It led to his white blood cell count to go down.”

His parents were so hopeful at first, but then things started to go wrong. He was starting to get more sick from the treatments, but they needed to keep doing them so his cancer wouldn’t spread. They had to get blood from him to monitor his infections, but they couldn’t take it from the central line. They had to prick his finger multiple times a day to get the results. He ended up having bruised hands from all the finger pricks he had done.

Though there were many terrible things going on in Bedell’s life at the moment, he had many good moments during the time he spent in the hospital.

“I played go fish with my mom, did LEGO projects and other stuff,” Bedell said. “If my dad wasn’t up and I wa hungry, I’d try to wake him up and ask if I can get room service and say “I take that as a yes” if he didn’t answer me.”

Life for the siblings of Alexander, it was hard for them as well as the cancer was for his parents and him.

“It was hard on the family, but most of his siblings didn’t know what was going on,” Erin said. “His older brother had to go the counselors because it was hard on them and he didn’t really know what was going on.”

After almost a year and a half of battling this cancer and through all the chemo and radiation, he was done fighting. Right before his 7th birthday, he had been told by his doctors that he was finally cancer-free. This was a time in his life he wouldn’t forget. Now, Bedell has finally hit the 10 year mark on being cancer free.

When he first got told that he didn’t have cancer anymore, doctors still worried. Bedell used to complain of leg pains, and when the doctor heard about this, it made them anxious. After checking it out, they were done having to worry that there was something wrong. The leg pains would be treated through some simple medications

“I have to get yearly and then I have to get a heart check-ups every five years,” Bedell said. “I have to get yearly check-ups to make sure there is nothing wrong, and an EKG for my heart check-up”

photo courtesy of Erin Bedell

He doesn’t haven’t take many precautions and does play football for Millard West which he is passionate about doing. From everything that they went through, it was hard on the family, and they only wish that it doesn’t decide to come back.

Bedell looks for a future in construction work and wants to be hands on. Bedell has not let this cancer affect him in any way. Even though he keeps get check-ups, he tries to leave that part out and just do what he wants to do. Bedell is still getting those check-ups and is living his life.  Bedell has not let this cancer affect him and is happy that he has avoided it returning for the past 10 years.