Rhabdomyosarcoma isn’t an extinct dinosaur or a mythical dragon, but it is a very real monster that Nash Lexington Luker has been battling since his birth May 20th, 2012. This particular monster doesn’t hide in closets or lurk in dark forests waiting to gobble up children. This monster doesn’t go away when you turn on the lights and hide under the covers. This monster is cancer.
Rhabdomyocarcoma, known as RMS, is a type of sarcoma (cancer of the connective tissues) that most often affects children ages 1-14 and occurs most often in areas lacking skeletal muscles, such as the head, neck, and genitourinary tract. Though RMS is the most common sarcoma found in children, it is very rare for a child to be born with this cancer. Nash is battling a rare RMS monster that few newborn babies have fought. Not only was Nash born with RMS, but his tumor was located on his chest wall, a very rare location for any RMS diagnosis. His size and weight make treatment difficult, but his spirit will prevail. If there ever was a warrior with great courage and strength who could beat the nasty rhabdomyosarcoma monster, it is Nash Lexington Luker.
Nash was the beginning of a new world for Allison and Seth Luker. He was their miracle baby from the beginning. Seth, a two-time survivor of Stage IV colon cancer, and Allison believed that they would never have children, but their lives changed in September 2011 when Allison became pregnant. The soon-to-be parents were overfilled with joy that their perfect little family would now have another member. They learned it would be a boy while sipping miso soup at a Japanese restaurant in NYC and decided to name him Nash, after Nashville, TN where they met on Labor Day weekend five years ago.
Allison did everything she could to give Nash a healthy start to life. Her and Seth are both vegans and believe that healthy eating is important to thrive in life. She maintained optimum nutrition by eating organic and gluten-free foods and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars. Though Nash developed with the very best nutrition, he was born with a small lump the size of a bite-size Snickers on his chest. Wasting no time, doctors immediately performed an x-ray, then a sonogram, then an MRI, but there wasn’t an immediate diagnosis. Five days later, doctors performed a biopsy on the lump and made slides for pathology. These slides were sent out to the top pediatric pathologists across the country. It was then that a Vanderbilt University doctor diagnosed the lump as spindle cell rhabdomyosarcoma and needed to be removed immediately.
At one month old, Nash underwent a complicated four-hour surgery to remove the first tumor found at birth, and a second tumor that had later been discovered. Doctors also had to remove four ribs, part of his diaphragm, and part of his chest wall. After the surgery, Allison and Seth learned that Nash’s cancer was very aggressive and there were cancerous cells in his left latissimus dorsi muscle – the broadest muscle in his back.
There isn’t a routine treatment plan for patients like Nash. He’s seen many doctors and specialists who are unremittingly working together to defeat his RMS monster. He had a broviac catheter installed that acts as the central line to administer chemo directly into his bloodstream. Currently, Nash is set to undergo at least 42 weeks (14 cycles each last 3 weeks) of VAC chemotherapy, the only chemo “cocktail” that has ever been given to babies of Nash’s age and size.
Nash, who will be five months old on October 20, has amazing spirit. While Allison and Seth are busy being serious and frazzled and meeting new specialists, Nash is busy loving life. He flashes flirtatious smiles to the nurses, keeps calm amidst all the scary tests, and enjoys every sight, smell, and touch around him. “He’s an old soul,” says Allison. “He’s our little warrior that laughs in the face of danger.” That couldn’t be truer – Nash fights his RMS monster with all the courage of one thousand warriors and though he’s in constant battle, he’s one happy, loving, and peaceful baby.
We LOVE Nash Lexington Luker and you should too! To read updates about how Nash is beating the RMS monster and to see pictures of his flirtatious smiles, visit his Facebook page appropriately called, We Love Nash Lexington Luker.
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