On December 23, 2014, our life was forever changed with three simple words: “It was cancer.” Let me back up just a little bit. On Friday, December 5, 2014, my 11-year-old son had surgery to remove a “cyst” from his left forearm. The surgeon told me I would get the pathology results in five days. He said the “cyst looked odd and he was glad we got it out,” but never gave me any hint of concern. We waited and waited on the results. Finally, after two weeks, I began calling. I was told so many different things (the doctor is on vacation, the doctor just got back from vacation, they are trying to find a physician to read the report, etc.) that my husband and I had decided that the hospital lost our son’s pathology sample. I was certain that was what had happened – cancer never crossed my mind. I walked into the surgeon’s office, along with my children, for my son’s post-op visit. I had five questions written down on my cell phone regarding the “loss of the sample.” The surgeon walked in, sat down, got his paper out and said, “it was cancer.” I immediately pushed the delete button on my list of questions. All I could think of, while the surgeon spoke words I never dreamed I would hear, was “don’t cry, don’t cry” because my son was watching me.
Chance’s diagnosis was soft-tissue Sarcoma: Spindle Cell: Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor (MPNST). The 30 minute drive home was awful. My eyes were filled with tears, my heart ached for my baby! Chance had a second surgery on January 5, 2015, to “get clear margins” and this time the whole immediate family was there. Chance has had two surgeries, a full body bone scan, two MRI’s, several chest x-rays and he will continue to have oncology visits, scans, tests, X-rays every three months for the next year. After that, it may not be quite as often but it will continue for at least five years. In five years, my baby will still be a baby at just 17, but it will be a huge milestone in this horrible, heart-wrenching, wretched journey we call Sarcoma.
About Chance: he loves being outside, hunting birds, playing on the youth football team, and playing with his family and friends. He is going into 6th grade. He wants to join the Army (one of the services) one day. He never complained – he never asked “why me?” He says, “I beat cancer” and I want to cry every time I hear him say it because I am so proud of him!! He is my real-life hero.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!