KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 26, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
A Katy family’s life changed when their one-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. The community has supported the Mullers, and now they are paying that kindness forward.
Krista, Kate, Eli, and Eric Muller celebrate Easter 2019, one week prior to Eli's diagnosis. Photo credits for this story: Krista Muller.
Eli Muller got sick on his family’s Walt Disney World vacation in May 2019. After they returned home to Katy, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Eli had a port put in on May 10, 2019, and started chemotherapy that evening. During his treatment he received a total of 91 bags of chemo, around 45 red blood/platelet transfusions, and five spinal taps with high doses of chemo - all in a six-month period.
“I look at Eli and I am in awe of everything he has endured and most of the time he did it with a smile on his face,” says Krista.
Eli’s biggest struggle came with his last round of chemo as his hemoglobin counts continued to be a problem. The Mullers knew first-hand the needs of blood and platelet transfusions and that the Katy-area was short on supplies.
Katy Fire Station Held a Blood Drive
Eli’s father, Eric Muller, is a local volunteer firefighter. Last fall, his station, the Community Volunteer Firefighter Department in Katy Station 3, held a blood drive in honor of Eli. Krista said her family couldn’t be too involved with the event because Eli was hospitalized on that evening.
“That last stay in the hospital was by far the most difficult and draining time of his cancer treatment,” says Krista.
For 10 days, Eli had a fever of 105. Despite all of the doctors’ tests, they couldn’t determine what was causing it. But Eli rebounded and his fever dropped.
“Eli was such a fighter throughout his entire treatment,” says Krista. “He laughed almost every day and put up with so many sticks, pokes, and he just did it.”
In those early days, the Mullers were numb.
“My husband Eric and I couldn’t talk to anyone without breaking down for the first week,” says Krista. “Once we received his treatment plan, we knew we had to change our mindset from angry to, ‘We are a strong family, we will get through this, and we will persevere.’”
Angry with God
Krista remembered being angry with God early in Eli’s diagnosis. She reached out to other families who have walked the same path and helped her and her family.
“After talking with other cancer families, many of them had this same conversation, and now I know that what I thought was a hug from God, really was,” says Krista. “I let go and knew that God had Eli in his hands.”
Eli fought against odds and illness and is now cancer-free. The Mullers feel strongly about paying forward the support and love they received from the Katy community.
“I cannot begin to list out everything that people have done for us and there is no adequate way to thank everyone,” says Krista. “Our family’s goal is to pay it forward to other childhood cancer families.”
Today, Krista says Eli is doing amazing, and he will be one-year cancer-free on October 25.
“There are a lot of things I’ll never forget about this last year,” says Krista. “I’ll never forget the gut-punch feeling of being told your baby has cancer. I’ll never forget the smell of chemo diapers. I’ll never forget what it feels like to kiss a sticky, bald head.”
“Even in the worst possible situations, there is always a silver lining,” says Krista Muller.
Eli still goes to the doctor every six to eight weeks for blood work and has to have routine echocardiograms.
“We are so blessed and grateful that he has zero known side effects for all the chemo that was pumped through his little body,” explains Krista. “He truly is my little hero and I thank God for every day we have with him.”
Support Katy Families
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and A Shelter for Cancer Families (ASCF)’s campaign, “Hearts of Gold” works to raise awareness and support for families fighting this battle alongside their children. Learn more about how you can support local families.