Too much excitement just might kill me!
Yesterday was Neuroblastoma Awareness Day. Neuroblastoma is the leading single cause of cancer deaths in children under 5.
And yesterday, one of the boys we know from the ward died.
Neuroblastoma is the third most common type of childhood cancer, after leukemia and brain tumors. 50% of all children with neuroblastoma will not survive.
Neuroblastoma killed that little boy.
If stage 4 neuroblastoma relapses, there is no treatment.
On the day we got the news of Monkey’s remission, that boy went for his final end of treatment scan. I watched him happily kiss his mother goodbye and hop in the lift to go up to radiology.
Monkey’s treatment stopped that day. His didn’t. It became experimental, and then palliative. He had been in treatment for over a year, and it hadn’t worked.
All the chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, mega therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell transplants – they hadn’t worked.
The radioactive isotope they had delivered specially and injected into him had shown that his neuroblastoma was still there.
And that was his death sentence.
After 2 years of poking and prodding, of slicing and scanning, of swimming in a soup of toxic chemicals and lying in a field of radiation, of vomit and blood transfusions, he still fought. And it was not enough.
Towards the end, as the disease spread through his body, he went home.
Yesterday, peacefully, at home, the battle was lost.
Monkey slept, warm and soft and snuggly. I listened to him breathing, and held him oh so tight.
Another little boy was cold and stiff in his mother’s arms, and will never laugh again.
His parents wrote that they were pleased he is now at peace.
And my heart broke.