Nikki Spoelstra, the wife of Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, posted on Instagram on Friday evening a heartfelt message detailing a health issue that has affected their 4-year-old son, Santiago.
Nikki Spoelstra, who has almost 25,000 followers on Instagram, wrote:
“The day after his fourth birthday, our son went in for an unexpected surgery. Intussusception.
A mass was found. “Benign” I thought to myself. It has to be benign.
One week later, he was diagnosed with Burketts Lymphoma. In the days, weeks, and months that followed… he endured (and thrived through) Chemotherapy.
He was… and continues to be.. so brave. He did not lose his joy. So many friends and loved ones made sure that none of us did.
Yesterday, our big boy got to ring the bell in the cancer wing at Nicklaus, and the gratitude I feel is overwhelming. REMISSION.
My family and I are incredibly grateful to his pediatricians, the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the whole Child Life Team, and all of the staff at Nicklaus who took care of our boy… but also, our family. There were many tears but these special individuals all made sure that there were plenty of smiles and all the love and support to go around. There really aren’t enough words. Simply… THANK YOU
One day, I want to open up about this more and create a necessary and meaningful dialogue around the subject of childhood cancer and what it has meant to me to be a parent in this situation.
For now, I am simply grateful.
Happy Friday. God is Good.”
Burkitt lymphoma is described by the Cedars Sinai website as “a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in which cancer starts in immune cells called B-cells. Recognized as a fast growing human tumor, Burkitt lymphoma is associated with impaired immunity and is rapidly fatal if left untreated. However, intensive chemotherapy can achieve long-term survival in more than half the people with Burkitt lymphoma.”
The Mayo Clinic calls intussusception the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in children younger than 3 years old.
The Spoelstras also have a 2-year-old son named Dante and announced last month that they are expecting a daughter as their third child.