December 2011. It was a time of football. Christmas shopping. Anticipating the promises a new year brings.
But for the Remington family, yes, our Remington family, it was a time frame where everything changed. The focus for them changed from Kristen being 9 months pregnant to Leonard fighting for his life.
For the first time in six months, I got to catch up with Leonard Remington. Unfortunately, it was at Saint Mary's Hospital. On this day, he's getting his last chemo treatment. But during my visit, I took him back to that December day when he learned he had acute myeloid leukemia. "I remember, vividly, Kristen and I were watching an NFL game and I got the phone call at 1:15 and it was like the wind was knocked out of you. It was like you just got shot."
His doctor gave him one day to break the news to his family and work. Thoughts of delivery rooms dissolved into the reality he would be staying in his own hospital room for 40 days, chemo flowing through his veins nearly the entire time. "I was stunned, shocked, really upset. And then I look at Kristen and said 'we've got to go. This is a fight. I need you. We're going to do this together and I'm going to beat it.'"
Leonard's type of leukemia is fast moving. It's aggressive. The doctors told Leonard if he had waited two more weeks to come in, he likely wouldn't be here today. His clue something was wrong? Night sweats. "I would tell listeners to be plugged in to what's going on and if something isn't right absolutely get it looked after, see a doctor because early detection is huge with cancer."
And having the right attitude is also huge. Through his six months of chemo, he's walked the halls to try and stay strong and positive. It doesn't always work. He tells me at times, he's felt like a ship lost at sea. Helpless even. But now he sees land and he's paddling like crazy to get there. Because on shore is the reason he's fighting so hard to live. And their names are Kristen, Brooklyn and Rylie. "I have things I need to do. I need to teach them how to ski, to golf, walk them to school, take them to Disneyland. That's what daddy's do."
Leonard just recently received news his bone marrow is cancer free and he's now in remission.Written By Wendy Damonte