We thought we beat the odds. We focused on diet, prayer, giving back and being grateful. For three years we lived. Then, on June 12, 2014 the other shoe dropped. Regularly scheduled surveillance scans revealed three small spots. Our son Aidan's neuroblastoma returned.
Relapsed neuroblastoma means numerous clinical trials but no standard-of-care protocol to follow. When he was originally diagnosed, Aidan endured two surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, 12 rounds of proton radiation and six months of antibody therapy. All this and the cancer still returned. This time, we are on a 21-day cycle. One week of inpatient treatment. One week of recovery. One week of "normal" life. Then, repeat. People ask us how long we will have to do this? We do not know nor do we know what is next.
Aidan was first diagnosed in 2010, just days before his fifth birthday. Now nine, he has graduated from loving Star Wars and Legos to basketball and anything sports related. He knows what to expect from treatment. He mentally and physically prepares himself as best he can. He is also more aware of how cancer impacts him and the world around him. Yet, some things have not changed much. Sadly, in the four years between diagnoses, we don't see many advances in treatment for a rare cancer that only impacts about 700 children per year. Once again, research, data, and options are limited.
Aidan astounds us with his determination, courage, and positive attitude. Once again, family, friends, and community lift us up and pull us through. We are heartbroken but hopeful. No statistic can capture Aidan's spirit or determine his fate. We are grateful to organizations that conduct cancer research and encourage kids to fight and help children to remain positive despite all they have to do endure. We are thankful for organizations like Cookies for Kids? Cancer.