Monday, September 25, 2017

Clinic Visit - 3 Years Out of Treatment

We visited Loyola on September 20th for Kennedy’s quarterly visit.  Being three years out of treatment, her scheduled appointments will now move from quarterly to every 4 months.   Another mark of progress, each year, another month added between follow-up visits.

Dr. Suh was happy to see Kennedy and she loved to see him.   Thankfully, all is good and she’s growing (fast).  Her favorite nurse Christa wasn’t there to take blood and I thought she would panic but she played it cool.   She loves to watch the needle go in; I would be totally sick but she gives it no mind at all.

Kennedy has definitely blossomed this summer; she has grown several inches and is looking more and more like a teenager than a little girl.  This is bittersweet.  I’m so happy to enjoy her growing up but I want just a little longer with her sweet little girl persona (versus her new, hormonal Sybil temperament).  Although only 10, she has turned into a pre-teen, full of attitude and uncontrollable emotion with a figure to match.

While at clinic, there was a little boy screaming bloody murder in an adjacent room. Hearing him made my heart break.  I didn’t know if they were accessing his port, if he was newly diagnosed or if he was just deathly afraid, but it brought back a flood of memories.  The screaming reminded me of Kennedy’s diagnosis day and them trying to get an IV in.  We had to hold her down while she screamed, and in the end they failed after several attempts. All the memories I buried deep inside came rushing to the top.  I hate cancer, I hate clinic and I hate that Kennedy had to suffer. Returning to this place every few months makes me face what I try to forget every day.  With that said, I love that she is healthy, I love her doctors that got her healthy and I’m happy she is a vibrant, kind and hormonal pre-teen.

The CureSearch walk was this weekend.  Our team raised over $8,000 in benefit of CureSearch and I am thrilled. Our fundraising seems to decrease year after year as we move further away from the diagnosis.  Although I wish I could do more, there are so many families afflicted with other diseases, natural disasters and important causes to support. I am grateful that in aggregate the Chicago walk brought in over $120K to fund Childhood Cancer Research.

The walk was both an uplifting and heart wrenching experience.  The children in-treatment and those that are cancer survivors were honored and adorned with a ribbon, Super Heroes (both children and characters) were all around and face painting and kids activities kept everyone in good spirits.  Kennedy’s best friends came to support her, as did our own friends and family.

For the families of those children no longer with us, the mood was somber.  Each child that lost his/her battle was remembered by family who walked on to the stadium field holding an 8x10 photograph. Doves released at the end of the ceremony had us all sobbing. I don’t want to imagine what these parents experience every day.  I give them all credit for showing up year after year, trying to raise funds for other families that still have hope.

Childhood Cancer Awareness month is almost over but everyday more than 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.  Just because September is coming to a close, it doesn’t mean the foundations that support childhood cancer research stop needing funding.  If you haven’t already done so, please consider donating to CureSearch at

Edan Gelt