Kids Like Cian

“Our son Jack was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma (Stage IV, N-myc amplified) in Boston, on March 18, 2004. He had just had his six-month well visit weeks earlier and was given a clean bill of health. However, there were things that just weren't right: Jack didn't want to be on his stomach or roll over, he became a fussy eater, and he had a slightly enlarged liver (which was dismissed by the pediatrician). Over the next month he was seen for fever, lethargy and yellow eyelids.  The lids were thought to be a skin condition, so we were given a dermatology referral. On the morning of his diagnosis, I noticed a bump on his skull, near his right temple, which led our pediatrician to reconsider the yellow eyelids: resolving bruises.  Next I was grilled on Jack’s daycare arrangements (I stayed home with him full-time) and we were sent to the local hospital, where doctors had been made aware of the pediatrician’s suspicions prior to our arrival. Needless to say, we were treated horribly until five hours later when they had run enough tests to determine Jack had Neuroblastoma.  It was bad enough to learn Jack had cancer, but to be treated like monsters made it so much worse.  We were 'lucky' in that Jack responded to initial treatment and we were able to keep him with us in constant treatment for nearly two years post-diagnosis; he passed away on December 12, 2005.  I often wonder if our outcome would have been different had the cancer been discovered at an earlier check-up.  During our time in treatment we had several conversations with other cancer parents and all agreed that their pediatricians also must have skipped the chapter in medical school that taught about the handful of pediatric cancers that they should be on the lookout for.”

Matt and Linda Ramsden, Wellesley, MA