Saturday, September 20, 2014

What Started It All...

It was October last year, not September but I have been reflecting a lot lately on our journey since it is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. This was the picture that started it all, this simple, everyday picture of Emma at a pumpkin patch. It was after I saw this picture that I knew my husband was not overly sensitive about Emma's eye being "lazy" or "turning inward", there was something wrong with my baby. It was just a normal day, just a picture from a pumpkin patch. My world changed forever.

That picture lead to research on local pediatric eye doctors then a wait for an appointment. In November we finally got her into a local specialist. "I hate to say it, but I see something...maybe a tumor". Wait, what? My kid was supposed to have a lazy eye. I was supposed to be sent home with eye patches and a perscription for glasses, possibly a date for corrective surgery. No. I was sent home with a referral to the Children's Hospital and a date with an MRI machine...on Christmas Eve.

It could have happened to any child but it happened to mine. My child was diagnosed with a gene mutation on the 17th chromosome called Neurofibromatosis One. When I was told what Emma had I couldn't spell, pronounce or even remember that name. I just knew that it was responsible for hurting my child, so I hated it deeply. We were told that these tumors were very rarely cancerous so not to worry and we would just monitor. Well monitoring brought forth the knowledge that rapid growth was occurring in the largest tumor wrapped around her eye. This lead to a debulking surgery which lead to our final destination, cancer. Cancer. Shit. My child has cancer. It could have happened to anyone but it happened to us. My baby who already fought a NICU battle. My child...

It's hard to watch, believe me I know, it is hard to watch. The teeny sick children with bald heads. It is heartbreaking. But looking away is the worst thing you can do. Why? Because this time it was my child but next time it could be yours. You never know what will lead you to your diagnosis but when you hear the words cancer and look down at your sweet child you will wish there was a cure. That
there was a better option then the list of side effects handed to you by your pediatric oncologist. You will wish there was a surgery to remove it, a pill to kill it, a therapy to lessen it. But instead you have a list of side effects and prayer.

Nearing Emma's anniversary of this journey we ask you to help us spread awareness. Tell Emma's story, find another children who fight this battle to love and support, donate to pediatric cancer research. Fight with us to make politicians and pharmaceutical companies take notice. And pray that there is a cure found soon for our Emma. Something that doesn't just buy us time but kills this horrible disease forever. Something that will not come back as a new demon in a few years. Heroes like these children deserve a better life, a full life that doesn't involve weekly chemo treatments. Help Childhood Cancer go viral so we can move forward and save all our children.

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