September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. At PCFLV, we are committed to spreading the GOLD all year long. However, in September, we truly make it our mission. 30 Days, 30 Stories celebrates the children we know and love and the brave battles they fight and have fought, with their families by their sides. In celebrating these beautiful children and their stories, we hope to inspire you to join us in our mission to SPREAD THE GOLD in September and all year long!
On January 20, 2017, our world as we knew it, changed. Our only son, Owen, only 11 months old, was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms Tumors, stage 5.
What started out as a simple office visit to Owens pediatrician for a possible ear infection, ends up being cancer. How can this happen?
January 15,2017, Owen was scheduled the day after his pediatrician visit for an ultrasound, for the lump his pediatrician felt. The ultrasound was the next morning. At 3pm, I got the phone call to get Owen to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest to the pediatric floor. The oncologist met with us when we arrived. She had informed us that the ultrasound showed a mass on Owens right kidney. Later that evening, Owen had his first CT scan to see the mass a little better.
On January 20, 2017, we heard those horrible wordâ€¦Owen has cancer. Owen was diagnosed with Bilateral Wilms Tumors (stage 5). The oncology doctor informed us that Owen had only 10% of good kidney tissue left on both kidneys. The oncologist was sure that it was the "good Wilms" but was not certain because surgery and a biosy was not possible at this point because of spreading and potential loss of a kidney.
At this point, I knew I could no longer hold my job and take care of my son, so I had to leave my employment. About 10 days later, Owen had his first surgery to put a port in to receive his chemo. Since the port being placed, there have been many chemo treatments and many hospital stays. Owen had his first surgery on May 30, 2017 on his right kidney. The procedure was 9 hours long. The tumors were tested, and results came back that Owen had the more aggressive Wilms. Owens chemotherapy treatments were severely altered. More aggressive cancer means more aggressive chemo. Now instead of chemo once a week, it changed to five days a week, full-day treatments. This was particularly hard on Owen. The aggressive treatments were taking the toll on his small body.
On July 13, 2017, Owen had his second surgery on the left kidney. Owen went into this procedure with a good chance of losing his left kidney. His surgeon at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was brilliant. He did the unexpected with Owen! He peeled the tumors off the blood line in the kidney. He saved my little boy's kidney! With missing so much of his kidney, Owen is on blood pressure medications twice a day, but I'd take that over dialysis any day!
Owen continues to receive chemo treatments. Up to 33 weeks is what we are looking at. That will put us at Christmas time, maybe even January 2018, depending on how Owen's body tolerates everything. We are hoping that maybe around Owens 1-year mark of being diagnosed Owen will be cancer-free and done with chemotherapy!
Cancer has changed our lives drastically. Our lives will never be the same again. It feels like we will always be living with fear. Although, through this horrible journey, Owen has stayed stronger than ever. He never lets anything bring him down. He has a smile that can brighten up anyone's day. Owen still enjoys cutting grass with his daddy, riding his tractor, watching Mickey Mouse, playing with his kitty, and most importantly, loving his family and friends unconditionally
Written by Owen's mom, Sam