On February 18th, eat a scoop or two of ice cream for breakfast to support Yuval’s ongoing fight with childhood cancer, because kids get cancer too.
The day I was born, the doctors saw a golf ball sized bump on my neck. Other than that, I was perfect! They weren’t sure what it was, so they did surgery to take out the bump when I was six days old. Turns out that little bump had a very big name: Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma. It’s pretty rare to have that tumor at birth, but I’m a rare kid.
My first chemo was at age 2.5 weeks. I did 8 months of chemo. Despite my tough beginnings, I was always a happy baby, and although I was a little slow in reaching some milestones, it didn’t take me too long to catch up with my peers when I was done.
For the next 18 months, I got to enjoy “normal” toddler life. Then in September 2013, when I was a little more than 2 years old, Mommy felt another little bump on my neck while she was shampooing my hair. The “monster” was back. Rhabdo relapses are bad news. Now we had to do a really nasty 54 week chemo protocol and 28 rounds of proton radiation. I had to get used to lots of needle pricks and yucky medicines and fasting for hours before surgeries and scans and radiation. And now that I was a big boy who loved to run and jump, it was really hard to get used to being hooked up to an IV for many days and nights in a row to get my chemo, but eventually I adjusted to hanging out with “Ivy”. It was a horrible year, with more time spent hospitalized than not, and for lots of it, I felt quite miserable.
I finished my relapse protocol in Sept 2014, and now I’m starting to get used to normal life again – learning how to spend time with other kids and catching up in areas where I’ve fallen a bit behind.
We never know what the next scan will show, and the statistics are not necessarily in my favor, but my family and I have learned to focus on today, and I am simply not a kid who can be beaten by mere statistics. I’m here for the long haul!