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How 4-year-old lymphoma patient is adjusting to being home after months in a Birmingham hospital


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – If you know John Lucas Scott, you know he is a happy, playful 4-year-old who loves Paw Patrol.

On April 29, 2020, John Lucas was diagnosed with Large B Cell Lymphoma.

His symptoms started as what his parents thought was just a virus. For two weeks, he experienced symptoms of a stomach virus, along with abdominal pain.

After a zoom appointment, drive up doctors appointments, labs, and tests, his doctor ordered an abdominal CT scan at Children’s Hospital, which showed a partial bowel obstruction that required emergency surgery. During the surgery, doctors discovered a large mass in his small intestine.

“The surgeon informed us that in his experience, the mass looked and felt like lymphoma, but we would wait for the final pathology results before seeing an oncologist,” said his mom Mary Beth Scott.

After staying in the hospital three days recovering from surgery, John Lucas was able to come home for two days. On April 29, the surgeon called to notify his parents of the biopsy results. Shortly after, the oncologist office at Children’s called with a plan for testing, along with port placement.

On April 30, John Lucas began his pre-phase chemo. After that, he had four 21 day cycles, which included a week of chemo with two weeks for his body to recover each time.

“We went to clinic a few times a week while not admitted inpatient to monitor his labs closely, and thankfully only had to be admitted once in between for febrile neutropenia,” said Mary Beth.

After four months of being in the hospital, John Lucas was able to return home on Aug. 3.

When he came home, he had a big surprise waiting for him.

Mary Beth said friends, family and even complete strangers have reached out by sending cards, toys, donations and prayers. The gestures have been huge and that’s just a small picture of the people that has been praying and continues to pray for their family.

The journey has been far from easy, as COVID has added stress an isolation to a difficult time.

“COVID has affected everything,” said Mary Beth. “Every time John Lucas had a procedure, there was only one parent allowed. Also, I took John Lucas to the clinic a few times a week in between hospital visits, and they only allowed one parent there. Unfortunately, the ER has the same rules with only allowing one parent. The worst part was John Lucas having to have the COVID test with every admission.”

Support groups with other families, which usually meet weekly, children activities, chaplain services, etc. were all canceled or limited due to COVID.

John Lucas’ diagnosis was a devastating surprise to his family.

“This trial has brought extreme heartbreaks, but also magnificent blessings,” said Mary Beth. Childhood cancer has affected and changed our lives forever. Before John Lucas’ diagnosis, we were oblivious and would have never thought that our child would have gotten cancer, but our son did and we live with that new reality. Our story is also a story about the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The prayers, support, and love we have been received from His Body has overwhelmed us”

The other parents and children also going through childhood cancer have impacted the Scott family’s life forever.

Mary Beth said their motto during this storm has been “faith over fear” – Hebrews 11:33-34.

Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades. September is childhood cancer awareness month. Click here for more information on childhood cancer.


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