Written by Kelsey:
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. My childhood was interrupted at the age of 3 1⁄2 when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that develops from nerve tissue. It occurs in infants and children. The cause of the tumor is unknown. Neuroblastoma is most commonly diagnosed in children before age 5. The disorder occurs in approximately 1 out of 100,000 children and is slightly more common in boys. The normal survival rate for this cancer was about 10%. I was lucky enough to be put on an experimental clinical trial at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
This aggressive treatment took about 2-3 years and landed me in remission. Remission simply means your cancer cells are dormant and not active. I am on a “long term follow up” with the hospital which means I have been going for checkups every 6 months since I was 3 1⁄2. The long term follow up is forever. The frequent checkups are to monitor the long term side effects which occur many years after treatment. These include a change in the way the heart and kidneys work, hearing problems, fertility problems, secondary cancer, and a possible reduction in bone growth.
I am now finishing my final year at Rider University where I am Sociology major. After graduation my hope is to be a patient advocate at Sloan Kettering or social worker at the Ronald McDonald House.