It's been a crazy year, I've learned quite a bit. Not just about writing blogs but from many of the great posts I read here in "the rain." I've picked up about 70 followers and joined a few groups. I've been to a meetup and have had other conversations/meetings with many people I've met throught ActiveRain My very first blog post is just as relevant now as it was exactly one year ago today when I wrote it. Here it is:
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
When we think about childhood cancer we see images of smiling bald kids going through their treatment and coming out of it ok. This is what every pediatric cancer charity puts on their marketing material. Those kids are amazing fighters and should be honored. However, I think this does a disservice to them because it doesn't allow the general public to see pediatric cancer for the evil monster it really is. The fact is that 1 out of every 5 kids diagnosed with cancer does not live past the five year benchmark. I'm not even sure what the number is for 5-10 years, 10-20 and so on. What I do know is my eight year old daughter, Abigail was one of the 20% that doesn't make it to year five. In fact she didn't make it to one year after diagnosis. Had she not lost her battle it might have been tempting to join the masses in letting her happy bald kid image be used in literature geared towards raising funds. Had that been the case I would have been guilty of misleading you. What you wouldn't have seen in that image is that 11 days after she started chemo she was on a ventilator and in septic shock. A nasty infection cost her 1/3 of her colon, one month in ICU in a medically induced coma and a 19 x 5 inch wound on her belly that couldn't be sewn up until after chemo. In fact at the time of her death that wound had shrunk a little bit but was still prevelant on her. She had an ostomy bag which leaked almost daily. She had several surgeries and spinal taps. There was the constant vomitting. During her final visit to the hospital, which came when she was in remission, her heart gave out. She spent 10 days on a maching called ECMO which acted as her heart and lungs. Whenver the sedatives wore off she woke up with a feeling that she was drowning and her mouth was bleeding constantly. I know of plenty of kids that survived their treatments that endured a similar hell to the one my sweet, beautiful little girl did. Unfortunately mine didn't, her heart gave out. It took five months to get the autopsy, the doctors were at a complete loss as to what caused it. They treated her for viral infections, fungal infections, etc. So for five months my wife and I wondered if we shouldn't have let her go to her cousin's birthday or taken her to the mall. As it turns out the chemo was too hard on her heart. Currently only 4% of federal cancer research funding is dedicated to pediatrics. This is the reason that if you choose to follow me you will see me beating the drum for more research funding and safer treatment options for kids. Not only safer treatment options but research for cause and preventions. My daughter was a fighter and through her treatment her only complaint was that she, "wish Leukemeia never existed!" I really want to make her wish come true.