We are nearing the end of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM). Two years ago, we had no idea that CCAM was celebrated or any connection to childhood cancer. I am Joelle Oliver, co-founder of 2 Of A Kind Earrings, and here is part of our journey with childhood cancer.
In the summer of 2018 our family of 6 took a big leap and moved from Minnesota to Indonesia. My husband was offered a job overseas and we were excited to give our children the opportunity of adventure to a world that was unknown to us. A month before we were scheduled to leave, my son Patrick (5 years old) developed a bump on his left eyelid. We saw a pediatric opthamologist who diagnosed him with a chalazion and did surgery to drain it one week before we left for Indonesia. The pediatric ophthalmologist told us the surgery went perfect and was not at all concerned about our travels.
Three weeks into our travels, the bump on Patricks eyelid reappeared. Patrick and I flew to Singapore to meet with a pediatric ophthalmologist. They took a sample of the tissue and completed an MRI and told us to go back to Indonesia and wait for results.
Three days later, I received an email from the pediatric ophthalmologist. The only word I remember reading was “cancer”. I was unable to cope. I was unable to say the words aloud. I was unable to plan the future we thought we would be living.
In a weeks time, we had to determine if Patrick would be treated in Singapore or in the United States. Ultimately, we determined the United States was a better option for our family.
Patrick was diagnosed with Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma in his left eyelids at age 5. He was treated with three different chemotherapies and 27 proton beam radiation treatments in a 6 month period. I am happy to report that Patrick has had no evidence of disease of cancer since his treatment ended a year and a half ago. Long term side effects will be part of his life from his treatment.
Patrick is a 2nd grader who loves Lego and Minecraft! He is spunky and loves to make people laugh.
It is hard to put all the grief, pain, happiness, helplessness, etc. into writing our journey with childhood cancer. Our family has been on an adventure we never saw coming. We have learned so much about ourselves and others in the process. I list all of the feelings above as they are all feelings childhood cancer caregivers feel at any given moment of each day.
2 Of A Kind was developed out of feelings of compassion toward childhood cancer caregivers. We see you all and have felt some of the feelings you are going through. All childhood cancer journeys are different, one thing we have in common is compassion. We wanted to make our mission simple, kind, and unforgettable.