Easton Carraway turned three years old last week. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in March 2017, Sacrococcygeal Teratoma, also known as Germ Cell Tumor. His family isn’t just celebrating his third birthday this month, though. Easton and his parents also just received big news that his most recent tumor is gone, making it his third time to beat cancer since diagnosis.
The last three years have been a whirlwind for Easton and his parents. They have already overcome more battles then some families face in a lifetime. Although Kahlee and Cody (Mom and Dad) have certainly been challenged during Easton’s battle, one of their greatest challenges has been learning to discipline their child while he fights for his own life.
During Easton’s journey, Kahlee was often reminded by nurses and hospital staff to “treat Easton like a normal child,” but Kahlee said this was close to impossible for them. How do you choose between leniency and sternness when your son is scared, confused, exhausted, and going through his terrible twos from the view of a hospital bed? How do you tell a sick child “no” when they’re trying to hit nurses helping him? How do you let him know that certain behavior isn’t tolerated, while also trying to comfort him?
Kahlee and Cody sought help from a child psychologist and read through the book, “SOS For Parents,” both of which helped them understand the most important part of discipline: consistency. Consistency in saying no to the same thing, consistency in correcting the behavior, consistency in not just letting it slide.
The relationship between the Carraway family and Jensen’s Heart of Gold began early in Easton’s battle. The Carraway family received a care package from Jensen’s Heart of Gold with a letter from founder Melissa Bryd shortly after Easton was diagnosed. Kahlee admits that it wasn’t until Easton’s second relapse that she began to engage with the organization, as she came to realize that her family could not do this on their own.
“Melissa told me that whenever we were ready, they would be there waiting and willing to support us. She was always there for us,” said Kahlee.
The Carraway family has had loads of support from friends and organizations like St. Jude, but she said that it was different with Jensen’s Heart of Gold. “It is a blessing to have this local, personal support,” said Kahlee. “And it’s been powerful to witness them touch so many other, local lives as well.”
“Melissa opened my eyes with words of encouragement, but also words of truth,” Kahlee continued. “She never pretended like this journey wasn’t going to be a long and hard one, but she let me know that we were not facing it alone.”