Motherhood Untold: Childhood Cancer Awareness
Our new normal became going to the oncology clinic for labs, going to the hospital for chemotherapy then going home and trying to make sure she doesn’t get sick before going to the clinic again. In February, we celebrated Emma’s fourth birthday with family and friends and even though she was losing her hair she enjoyed Chuck-E-Cheese. By March, Emma had had 3 cycles of chemo and we went to Houston for scans. On the way home, the doctor called with MRI results that the tumor had shrunk enough that it could be resected and we wouldn’t have to look at transplant options. That was just amazing news to hear! She had another round of chemo and a tumor resection surgery was planned for the end of April. Unfortunately, due to the effects of chemo on her immune system and all the medication she had taken, she is diagnosed with C. diff, an infection that takes a toll on her and gives her a high fever the day of her brother’s party in April.
So we went to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and we were admitted to treat the infection. I was mostly on my own there in the hospital, my husband and son came to visit on weekends and my best friend came to visit us the day before the big surgery. On May 2nd, 2016 her surgery for tumor resection took place. Emma was in surgery for 9 hours. She was in recovery for the next couple of weeks. When we got discharged, it truly felt like a miracle. To make sure the tumor was completely gone, she underwent two more rounds of chemotherapy. Thankfully, every day we saw progress and recuperation.
In August 2016, Emma was declared No Evidence of Disease and rang the bell to mark the end of her treatment! One week later she started pre-kinder, with no hair but the biggest smile on her little face! In 2018, she started wearing hearing aids, as hearing loss is a side effect of the chemotherapy drugs she received. Today, she is seven years off treatment and we’ve entered the Long Term Survivor clinic, which is a huge milestone. She is still at risk of secondary cancers and other medical side effects and must be monitored by multiple specialties, like audiology and cardiology.
We are truly grateful for this miracle in our lives, but there are so many children and families who are fighting cancer. The statistics are staggering and it’s clear that childhood cancer is not rare. The day before Emma was diagnosed, we weren’t a cancer family. And this is why we need to raise awareness and support the families.