Hearing my son express hope for his future filled my heart with joy

A recent graduate looks forward to college and beyond

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by Joe MacDonald |

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My youngest son, Caeleb, crossed the stage on Saturday afternoon and received his high school diploma. He relied on the assistance of a cane, which serves as a constant reminder of the chronic pain he suffers as a result of breakthrough bleeds in his right knee and ankle.

For years, hemophilia threatened to derail his academic pursuits, causing continuous internal bleeding, frequent hospitalizations, and damage to his joints. But despite all these trials and tribulations, Caeleb achieved his educational goal. He is a warrior!

However, the day’s highlight didn’t occur at the graduation ceremony, lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, or in the car on the way home. It took place several hours later, at the family dining table.

I was grading papers there when Caeleb approached and initiated a conversation. At first, I wanted to ask him to come back once I’d finished reading my students’ work, but I sensed he was anxious to talk about something.

I put my red grading pen down and looked at him, acknowledging that he had my full attention. My son paced back and forth, trying to form into words what was on his mind. I attempted to assuage any fears by reminding him that conversations around the gathering table are protected and treated with the utmost care. Having no idea what he wanted to tell his mother and me, I spoke in low tones and tried to present a calm demeanor.

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As he spoke, I realized the nature of the conversation: He wanted to talk about his future. I listened quietly as Caeleb described the goals he’d established to be successful in life. He’ll attend the University of New Mexico in the fall and plans to pursue both academic and personal endeavors. Caeleb expressed interest in advancing his art and graphic design career, mainly in animation, and hopes to apply for a job tutoring younger children.

My son assured me that he’d continue to take his medication, Hemlibra (emicizumab-KXWH), to help with clotting. He’s also scheduled to meet with his new hematologist, Dulcinea D. Quintana, MD, who oversees the adult bleeding disorders clinic at the University of New Mexico Hospital, in Albuquerque.

As my son spoke, I tried to remain quiet so he could express everything he had to say, but I soon broke down and cried. Hearing him talk about his hopes sent chills down my spine, as I remembered the harrowing times when darkness pervaded his life. We had little to no idea of what his future would hold. Now, he’s excited and ready to conquer the world. Through his beautiful, hazel eyes, I saw joy permeate his soul.

“Hallelujah,” I thought. “He’s found his purpose.”

My affirmations

When Caeleb finished talking, I told him how proud and excited I felt for him. We discussed the importance of maintaining a high grade point average in college, which will significantly affect his academic aspirations. I congratulated him and affirmed that the best things in life are yet to come. I told him I loved him and wanted the best for him, assuring Caeleb that he could achieve whatever goal he set out to accomplish.

I also reminded him of several affirmations from his faith. These Scriptures remind him that he has purpose and meaning:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” — Psalms 139:14 (English Standard Version, or ESV)

“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.” — Numbers 14:24 (ESV)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

The best affirmation I saved for last, because it’s the most personal.

“Caeleb,” I said, “I know the years haven’t been easy for you. I wish I could take back the hurt and the pain, but I cannot. What I have in the very recesses of my soul is undying love and support for you, my son. Go out into this world and make it a better place, simply because you are here. Know that your family helps to create the winds to carry you to wherever you choose to work, and be kind and compassionate with everyone you meet. Be blessed, be loved, and know there is nothing you can do to make us love you any less than what we feel today.”

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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