That perfect life I thought I had came crashing down and I wanted nothing more than to curl up into a ball and disappear.  No time for that because many serious tests had to be done and decisions had to be made.  Lab work,  a CT scan, EKG, PET, MRI, bone marrow aspiration and tumor biopsy later…..we wait.  Jacobs diagnosis was Ewings Sarcoma.  A fairly rare and very aggressive pediatric, bone cancer.  The least desirable place for Ewings is in the pelvis, but his bone marrow was clear so we held on to hope.  A portacath was placed in Jacob’s chest and just 13 days after hearing our son had a tumor, he received his first of 17 rounds of chemo.All of Jacob’s chemo was done inpatient and lasted from 2-5 days.  To make matters worse we were told that we would have to give Jacob daily injections of neupogen at home.  What?  My son has a needle phobia, I am not a nurse and now this?  I remember telling our oncologist that this intense chemo schedule wouldn’t work for us because we both worked full time and we had 2 younger children. They said everyone says that, take a deep breath and prepare for your “new normal.”There aren’t very many things my son treasured, but his long, blonde hair was one of them.  He held strong when his hair started falling out by the handful but I had secretly hoped that he would be the ONE kid who’s hair stayed in his head.  That was a very emotional day for me and Jacob.  Cancer was now out there for everyone.  He now officially looked like a “cancer kid” and I was down right angry about it!

When stuck in a hospital setting at least 10 days a month, one has to become creative to stay entertained and deal with the anger.  Humor became more important than ever to Jacob and myself.  We purchased a whoopie cushion and Jacob would use it in the clinic, on the elevator, in the halls etc.  Then there was the fake cigarette that  would hang out of Jacob’s mouth as we walked the pediatric unit. People’s reaction made us laugh and forget about the pain for a while.

After 6 rounds of chemo, Jacob had the cancerous pelvic bone removed.  He had to use a walker to get around, attend physical therapy and hurry up and heal so he could have another 11 rounds (22 weeks of chemo).  Jacob finished up treatment in December 2012 and being cancer free was all we wanted for Christmas.  Jacob remains cancer free today.

Had it not been for a super nursing staff, amazing friends, an incredible support system and my PACKS (Parents And Cancer Kid Support) group, I never would have made it.  I had to learn to allow people to help, accept fund raisers and ask for help.  I would highly recommend attending or starting your own “cancer parent” support group as it was truly a life saver.  Who else but a cancer parent can also pronounce those 6 syllable drugs, talk blood counts and feel that stabbing pain you feel?

The end of our cancer journey was celebrated at the Atlantis Resort, thanks to The Make A Wish Foundation.  We have given back by hosting a blood drive, heading up a CureSearch Team and helping out with Make A Wish events.  My husband even rode his bicycle 300 miles, over 3 days to help fund other children’s MAW trips.

Thank you for helping us bring awareness to pediatric cancer and for helping us to “Make Gold the New Pink.”

Jody Crump
Support Childhood Cancer Research
Because kids get cancer too!