My son, Lathan, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma when he was just three months short of turning 2 years old. We were so fortunate to see that a lump was growing so we were able to catch it early. On Father’s Day weekend, he went in for surgery to remove the tumor. He was such a tough man afterwards. All he wanted to do was play in the hospital’s playroom! The next two years were such a journey. After mulitple scans and tests, he started his 47 week long chemo treatments. I will say again, he was so tough…tougher than I imagine I would be. He has two older sisters that made him want to play. I think without them he would’ve given in to the feeling of not having enough energy to play or would not have been able to have such a positive attitude. Some weeks were tougher than others, but the nurses and his doctor were so great. Nemours Children’s Clinic in Pensacola, FL is phen
omenal! They were as much a support for my husband and I as they were to Lathan.
About a month or two after starting chemo, his hair started to thin. We went to the fair and were walking through the games section and one of the people running the games made a snarky remark about his hair. My husband didn’t know if he should punch him or ignore it. Him being the rational one, decided to give the man the benefit of the doubt for not knowing that a child can have cancer that would cause him to lose his hair. I cried on the way home and then decided that we would shave his head. My husband and 2-year-old son shaved their heads together and took an awesome photo afterwards looking “tough.” They are both gritting their teeth and showing off their muscles.
I think that was one of the MANY lessons learned throughout our whole process. We learned to take a horrible situation and find the good in it or learn something from it. My husband and I did that with our lives as well. While our son was battling cancer, we did what we could do to get rid of our own cancers. We tried to better our lives for all our children. We decided to have more family time, take more pictures and spend our time with people who were supportive and actually THERE for us. And surprisingly enough, my husband and I grew together. I read about so many parents that aren’t able make it through something like this, but we made it through and are stronger for it.
Lathan is the healthiest, happiest, most handsome 6-year-old boy. He loves fishing, football, swimming, soccer and video games. His hair grew back to have streaks all through it. You would be surprised at how many times I have been asked if I color his hair!!!!
I am still scared every day at the possibility that his cancer might return or he has some side effects from his chemo. But I have learned that it is something I have to deal with and accept. I pray that it doesn’t.
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!