Friday, September 19, 2014


  I was thinking the other day about luck.  Someone said to me how my brother was lucky with his cancer, to get such good treatment.  Ii wanted to think about just how lucky we got.

    First, my brother was unlucky.  He got cancer, a 1 in 330 chance.  Specifically, he got rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a 3% chance for a child with cancer.  Rhabdo itself has a five-year survival of about 60%.  However, of the two sub-types of Rhabdo, my brother had alveolar, stage 3, putting him even lower on the survival chances.
    But then my brother's luck started to change.  He had no metastases, as 80% of childhood cancer patients do.  There was a hospital equipped to treat childhood cancer within 40 miles of our house, and our insurance company was willing to cover treatment there.  He completed his treatment without any major complications.  He went into full remission, and even now, nearly 7 years later, he is still cancer free.  The only side effects he has in being color blind (which might just be a coincidence), a bald spot from radiation, and he can't feel his toes very well.  The only thing to worry about now is that annual CT and blood work.
    So, you might wonder why I am so invested in childhood cancer, if my brother was so lucky.  After all, wouldn't some people consider my brother's treatment and outcome best case scenario?  I am invested in ending childhood cancer because this is the best outcome.  Because we don't have a cure, just treatments.  There will always be a treat of recurrence, always the possibility that new late effects will surface.  Because my brother beat the odds with his childhood cancer, I think about the kids in the majority, who weren't so lucky.  That is why I am so invested in ending childhood cancer.

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