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From Dr. Mark


2/14/2010
The following was written by Dr. Mark VanderLugt, Jaymun's very first resident doctor. You may remember him from this earlier post. This photo of them together was taken right before Jaymun was sent home after being in the hospital for almost six months.

Mark is now working on his oncology fellowship at a Children's Hospital in Michigan.


I still remember the first time I met Jaymun. It was July 12, 2006, and he was only a few hours old. I was working in the neonatal ICU, and it was my second night on call after graduating from medical school. We had gotten a call about a baby being transferred from Sheboygan with "blue spots" all over... and he was twelve pounds. I remember thinking... that sounds like a Dutch baby. And sure enough, he was. Jaymun arrived and I met Dave, and did he have a lot of questions! Fortunately, I think that we talked as much about my being Christian Reformed and him growing up Dutch Reformed as we did about Jaymun and why he had been transferred to Milwaukee -- a good thing too, because, as a one week old doctor, I really didn't know anything anyway.

Over the next year, I was able to take care of Jaymun again. I was on the oncology service just after he had his bone marrow transplant, and was taking care of him when he went to the PICU and again when he came back to the HOT unit. I think I really got to know the entire family well during that time. I remember Dave playing tricks on the nurses, Sean and Devon painting the windows on all the patient's rooms over New Years, and waiting until I got the OK from Jennifer to examine Jaymun every morning (I tried to wait as long as I could... really!). Over the next two years, I would often see Jaymun in the halls at the hospital, or stop up to see how he was doing when he was admitted, often late at night when I was on call. I have always been grateful for how gracious they all were with me, and how understanding they were on all of those occasions when I didn't have any answers --which was more often than I'd like to admit.

I think about Jaymun a lot now. I finished my residency last year, and now am doing a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Taking care of Jaymun played a big role in that decision. I had been interested in oncology when I started residency, and after taking care of Jaymun, I decided that I wanted to continue my training to take care of other kids like Jaymun. There hasn't been a day when something hasn't reminded me of Jaymun... whether it's a patient about the same age, with the same curly hair, or the same smile. Lately, it's been a stuffed crocodile that has mysteriously appeared in our work room. When this happens, I often wonder - why did Jaymun have to be sick? Why did he and his family have to go through not only leukemia, but also all the complications of his treatment. Unfortunately, I'm not left with good answers, only more questions.

Attending Jaymun's funeral, I was especially struck by one of the songs, I will Rise, especially the lines, "Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed. The victory is won, He is risen from the dead. And I will rise, when he calls my name. No more sorrow, no more pain." I know that nothing will take away the pain of losing a child, but there is comfort in these last thoughts from Corinthians and Revelation: "Behold, I will tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye... the dead shall be raised, incorruptible... Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory." "God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain." Thank you for giving me the honor of caring for Jaymun. I will always remember a little curly haired boy with an infectious laugh and a love for Elmo and crocodiles. I don't know why Jaymun was taken away so soon, but I know that Jaymun will be raised, and I'll see him again. Without cancer. Perfect.


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