My journey began back on the first day of spring in 1973. I was just three years old. My mom had taken me to my pediatrician for a check up. While I was being examined in the area around my stomach, a very serious look came across my doctors face. At that time, he said that he would like for his colleague to confirm what he had discovered. After his colleague examined me, they told my mom to take me to "Henrietta Egleston Children's Hospital" immediately. When my mom & I arrived, I had some x-rays & a "CT-Scan". After the doctors looked at the results, they confirmed my diagnosis... "Stage Three Neuroblastoma". It was a malignant tumor in the area between my abdominal aorta & kidney. My parents worst fears happened on that day. In the days ahead... everything was a blur & still remains that way today. My dad, who is a "general practitioner" feared the worst, but prayed for a miracle.
Before I was born, my dad used to work at "St. Jude Children's Research Hospital" in Memphis. At the time when I was diagnosed, he knew the right doctors to contact to help cure me. I endured surgery & one year of chemotherapy. My mom told me that after my surgery, the surgeon came out with a puzzled look on his face. He said that most Neuroblastoma tumors spread very fast & can attach itself to the vital organs. When he found my tumor, he said that it was caught early & had not invaded any of my vital organs! My parents, friends & family were all very happy & amazed at this wonderful miracle! At the time when I was first diagnosed, I had no symptoms! Today when I see someone who knew what I endured, they say i'm a "MIRACLE CHILD"!
It is now "March 6, 2008".... I can't remember which year this happened. Due to the amount of "chemo medicine" my body endured, I started having problems with my "short & long term" memory. So my dad & I decided to visit my Oncologist. I told him what was going on & here's what his diagnosis was. A "Long Term/Side Effect Reaction" from the poisons in the chemo used to fight my Neuroblastoma. Chemotherapy took away my ability to drive a car, i'm battling daily problems with "memory lapses" & now... i'm battling one more VERY DIFFICULT & sometimes VERY SERIOUS "late effect" diagnosis with my teeth!!! As i'm still learning to live with this, please keep me in your prayers for strength & understanding.
Today is... "March 20th 2011". Happy "34 YEAR" cancer & chemo FREE anniversary! Unfortunately... this anniversary is bittersweet because, i'm battling one more late effect diagnosis. Some of you know... I battle "day to day" problems with my short & long term memory. And now... there's something else! Some of you know that i've been going through some VERY SERIOUS "dental issues". As of right now... i'm recovering from "EMERGENCY DENTAL SURGERY" I had to undergo on "St. Patrick's Day".
After doing some research... I found out that this VERY SERIOUS late effect & VERY SERIOUS problems with my teeth can happen to "childhood cancer survivors". The reason... I found out that it was due to my LENGTHY "chemo treatments". And so... with LOTS OF HELP... LOVE... ENCOURAGEMENT... STRENGTH... PRAYERS & SUPPORT from my AWESOME & BEAUTIFUL friends & family... my life... though VERY DIFFERENT now... I STILL... go on!
One day at a time... one hour at a time!