Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. One of my good blogger friends, Molly, has a two year old with Wilm's Tumor. I am re-posting this verbatim from her blog (so "my son" really means "her son") and encourage others to pass it along.

We need more research and solutions. Cancer patients of all ages deserve better than chemotherapy.

My son did five months of chemo that didn't even keep the cancer from growing back. From this chemo he ended up with nerve damage, causing him to be delayed in his gross motor development. At this point I think he has healed as well as he can from that and now it is just a matter of catching up and being out of the hospital to do so. He also risked heart damage from another chemo drug. His heart seems okay, thankfully, but many other kids who receive this drug cannot say the same.

His current regimen includes one drug that increases his risk of leukemia, one drug that can cause bladder bleeding (and was derived from mustard gas), and one that damages the kidney (remember that he only has one and not even a whole one) and can also cause hearing loss which is not much fun for anyone much less the child of musicians.

Kidney damage is no joke. He is on a low sodium and low potassium diet, which means a lot of foods that he might otherwise enjoy are off limits. Like no ketchup. He takes three blood pressure meds and a bicarbonate supplement as a result of the kidney damage.

I packed away clothes and brought out others and realized that my 2-year-old has not grown. Pretty sad. We knew that he'd slow down in his growth for the duration of his treatment, but the reality really hit when I realized that we didn't need to buy him ANYTHING for Fall. He is likely below average in height, which is another tough pill to swallow when you are two parents who are six feet and above.

I'm not telling you this because I want sympathy, per se. It isn't just that this is what weighs on my mind when other parents just have to think about play dates and kid classes and potty training. I want to share this because I hope that, after reading this and the stories of other families whose children are fighting cancer, you will agree that these kids deserve better.

Please share this with everyone you know, to increase awareness. Please take up this cause for my little guy and the others.
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