Back in January of 2012, my son Griffin started his radiation treatments to his face. Now, nine years later, we are once again dealing with the side effects of this treatment. Don’t get me wrong, these treatments and many others saved my son from Rhabdomyosarcoma when he was only two years old. But now, at 11, he is dealing with health issues that no little boy should ever have to think about, never mind go through.
As his mum, I go through waves of anger, doubt, peace and sadness. I’m mad that although we won his battle, it sometimes doesn’t feel like we won the war. Like, these little side effects will harass us for the rest of his life. I doubt myself that I made the right decisions with his care. But in my heart, I know that we are so lucky to still have him, we came so close to losing him. I should be so thankful and happy. But it’s hard. It is so fucking hard. Watching your child in pain, watching your child struggle, watching your child grow up “different”, it’s hard.
It is extra frustrating when “muggles” (non cancer people) don’t understand that even though the chemo has stopped, the battle is not necessarily over. There is a very big possibility Griffin will not be able to have children, that he will be diagnosed with cancer again before the age of 50, and that he will be diagnosed with at least one major chronic condition related to his cancer treatments.
The struggle is real. The struggle is not over. The struggle will follow him for his entire life. But the struggle makes him stronger. The struggle makes the good times even sweeter. The struggle showed us who our friends are, what our blessings are and taught us the most important lesson of all…you cannot ever let cancer win. Ever.