This photo of a 10-year-old boy, bald, pained look on his face, standing in his pull-ups diaper while clinging on to the bathroom sink is quickly going viral on Facebook. The photo may not be pretty, it’s admittedly hard to look at, but it’s a raw depiction of what life is like for a cancer patient — which is exactly why the boy’s mother posted it.
“The picture I’m posting is from this morning,” Drake’s mother captioned next to the photo of her son, who is currently undergoing chemo treatment. “And before you scream and cry ‘why would she post a picture of him in a pull up, the indecency’, well 1. It doesn’t show more than swimming jammers would and 2. Because life is not always politically correct and pretty, it is real. Life isn’t pretty, and cancer destroys a person.”
The photo was taken in the morning, shortly after carrying Drake to the bathroom. Her son wears pull-ups diapers because 75 per cent of the time he can’t control his bathroom habits.
“This is skin and bones,” her post continues as she describes everything the powerful photo depicts—everything that we cannot see. “Because I have to beg him to eat ONE green bean for supper, or drink a cup of water throughout the day.”
“This is having your son sleep with you at night because he is afraid of something happening and being alone, and by something I mean dying.”
“This is having middle of the night conversations with a 10-year-old, asking if he dies will he go to heaven and will he see his dad there and be able to talk and play with him.”
She said her son is too weak to walk and needs to be carried around or placed in a wheelchair. He falls asleep when someone talks to him because he is too exhausted. He throws up his medication (“44 chemo pills last week in a matter of 24 hours”) — and dry heaves, as his stomach is too empty to absorb it all.
“This is him telling me, ‘mommy, I’m not going to make it.’ This is him not wanting to be touched, because it hurts too much, and using morphine to get through his day.”
“This is him telling me he is scared and thinks he won’t see his 11th birthday. This is him and me, telling him that I will continue to fight for him when he can’t. This is him and me, and our world.”
The response has been overwhelmingly positive; many sympathized with Drake’s mother and shared their own personal stories of loved ones battling and conquering cancer.
“I have been here and with tears in my eyes, I want you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. My son (i)s a leukemia survivor, was diagnosed at 9, on chemo for 3 years. I have had those same conversations and I thank the lord each day that he spared my son…Oh, and try powdered doughnuts. He would eat those when nothing else would stay down,” one mother shared.
“May God give him and you the strength you need to fight it together, God is great have faith pray and never stop believing miracles and blessings do happen your baby boy will make it…” another mom stated.
One mom said that she went through a similar process, with a good outcome. “I believe in miracles because my son was only 2 when they told me that they didn’t expect for him to make it through the 18 months of chemotherapy plus 1 month of radiation. My son is now 10 so I will pray for you and your family. God please renew Drake.”
The post was shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, a space where people can share personal stories that will inspire others to love what matters. To Drake’s mom, it’s her son — he’s her whole world.
“From the moment I found out I was pregnant till future forever, he has been my reason for life. He is my smile, my love, my heartbeat. He is also my tears, my heart ache, my frowns. He is my life.”