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Childhood Cancer ~ A General Guide for Parents Part III: Talking to Your Child about Their Cancer


cancer_children_photos

As previously explained, this series of articles is not meant to be medical advice, but a guide that may help you as a parent of a newly-diagnosed child with cancer cope just a bit better. Information is knowledge, and never more so than when you are dealing with childhood cancer!

These articles are meant to help you be the key part of your child’s treatment that you will need to be. Take what works for you according to your situation and your child’s temperament, personality, fears, strengths, and how they deal with adversity, and leave what does not pertain to your situation.

Part 3 will deal with talking to your child about their cancer; should you or shouldn’t you; when should you; who should tell your child, and how much you should tell your child.

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Childhood Cancer ~ A General Guide for Parents Part I: What is Cancer?


girl-wearing-surgical-mask

Unfortunately children are not immune from cancer. It is always a tragedy when a child is struck by cancer, and most times the parents are totally unprepared for what dealing with their child’s illness will entail.

The information contained in this series of articles is not meant to be medical advice, but a guide that may help you as a parent of a newly diagnosed child with cancer cope just a bit better. Information is knowledge, and never more so than when you are dealing with childhood cancer!

These articles are meant to help you be the key part of your child’s treatment that you will need to be. Take what works for you according to your situation and your child’s temperament, personality, fears, strengths, and how they deal with adversity, and leave what does not pertain to your situation.

More children are surviving childhood cancer as more research is done and more effective treatments and drugs are being discovered. Survival into adulthood has increased a lot in the past 30 years. Along with better drugs and treatment there are also better meds to deal with the side-effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Many individuals who had cancer as a child are now living cancer-free, quality lives as adults.

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Late Night Thoughts of A Mother Whose Child Has Cancer (6)


photo of Ethan July 2014

Ethan July 2014

 

Herewith this week’s article as penned by Ethan’s Mom, Gila Jacobs, on her feelings as an Onco Mom in dealing with the daily trials and tribulations of cancer. As originally explained, this article is posted as is to maintain integrity and passion.

 

29 July 2014

I must admit, I have not written anything in a while, mostly because I don’t know how to put down in words what I’m feeling. It’s strange for me as I’m usually very good with words (even if I say so myself). But I’m sort of hanging in limbo experiencing this “post cancer treatment” life.

I’m not sure what to feel about it. I mean, just when I start feeling positive and good about Ethan’s future… he gets a fever that an ordinary paediatrician cannot find the source of, and we are back to Red Cross doing all sorts of tests trying to find out why there’s a fever.

Sitting and waiting at Red Cross again transformed me right back to where we have come from. Sitting with your sick child in your arms, sitting with uncertainty waiting for test results. Blood tests, urine tests, port culture tests… I was immediately sad for my son, for my husband and for me. We had just started forgetting about those days and yet here we were… back in tow.

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Undifferentiated Sarcoma


sarcoma awareness

July is International Sarcoma Awareness month, and as such we recently did a post about the most common Childhood Cancer Sarcomas (there is in excess of 50 types of sarcomas).

In response to a reader who queried why nothing was mentioned about Undifferentiated Sarcoma, however, I promised to do some research and a post about it.

Undifferentiated Sarcoma

Undifferentiated sarcoma is a soft-tissue sarcoma, and is a very rare childhood cancer. Soft tissue sarcomas start in blood vessels, fat, fibrous tissue, muscles, nerves, or other supportive tissues of the body.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of undifferentiated sarcoma vary according to in which area of the body it appears.  The first signs may be swelling or pain in that area. As the tumour gets bigger,  it may start to exert pressure on surrounding organs and cause swelling, pain, or blockage.

If other organs are  constricted, they may work less effectively. If a sarcoma occurs in the abdomen, for instance, it may press down on the intestines, which can lead to constipation.

 Diagnosis of Undifferentiated Sarcoma

Undifferentiated sarcomas are generally diagnosed via a biopsy (a surgical procedure done under general anesthesia, wherein a sample of the suspicious tissue is removed and studied).

Once diagnosed, additional tests may be done to ascertain whether the cancer has spread. These tests may include:

  • X-rays of all the bones
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Radioisotope Scan
  • Bone Marrow Aspirate

 Treatment of Undifferentiated Sarcoma

 A combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation is most often used to treat undifferentiated sarcoma. The treatment regimen will depend on where the sarcoma is situated, whether it has spread or not, and whether surgery was able to completely remove the tumour.

Awareness Ribbon

As with all other sarcomas, the awareness ribbon colour for Undifferentiated Sarcoma is Yellow
Yellow_ribbon.svg

Speak up for Childhood Cancer!


Speak Up photo 2_zps984c8466.jpg

What are YOU doing to speak up for Childhood Cancer Awareness?

There is far too little awareness being raised for childhood cancer, especially in South Africa. Here at Little Fighters Cancer Trust we aim to change this as we assist children with cancer and their families deal with all the trauma and expense of childhood cancer.

What are YOU doing?

What are you doing to help? It is only through the public and people who attract attention to what children with cancer and their families are going through that we can get awareness going and thereby save more lives.

How YOU can Help

There are many ways that you can help Little Fighters Cancer Trust to raise awareness and continue doing the good work:

Donate – make a once-off, monthly or annual contribution by donating here

Sponsor one of our wonderful sporting fundraisers

Volunteer in one of many ways

Donate R10 per week to receive an Inspirational Message on your cell every morning – SMS LFCANCER to 31222

Help Us Shop – e-mail mandie@littlefighters.org.za to get a list of goods that we need for our Bags of Hope that are distributed to our children with cancer families

 

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.

Lao Tzu

 

Late Night Thoughts of A Mother Whose Child Has Cancer (4)


Ethan  ~ 90 Days in Remission

Ethan ~ 90 Days in Remission

 

Little Ethan, otherwise known as Ethan “Iron Man” Jacobs,  is now 3 MONTHS Cancer Free, and Little Fighters Cancer Trust celebrates this milestone with Ethan, his mom Gila, dad Riaan and the rest of their family.

Herewith Part 4 of Ethan’s story, as penned by Ethan’s Mom, Gila Jacobs.

 

20 June 2014

Since I now have time to look back in retrospect and also have become a part of the Little Fighters family, I realise how important and necessary a support structure is when you are forced into this world of oncology. Therefore I want to begin this piece with a big THANK-YOU to LFCT who always tries to lighten the load… no matter what it may be. You guys walk away from your own lives to take a walk with each and every one of the cancer families you meet… truly an awesome way to live!

It also dawned on me that every little bit made a difference and still does. Every kind word, every sms or whatsapp message to ask how things are, every meal that came marching through my front door unannounced. Every package of food sent to hospital with my husband, every visit from family and friends, every organisation that made rounds in the hospital and gave my son a toy or a treat, everything and every little bit of kindness helps when your world is falling apart around you.

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Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment are High Risk for Infections


The Immune System

The Immune System

The immune system is an intricate combination of various organs distributed throughout the body. It helps the body to protect itself against invasion by germs, diseases and infections (see pic above).

When a germ enters the body, the white blood cells (lymphocytes) are triggered to attack it. White blood cells constantly move throughout the body via the immune system.

White blood cells consist of two types; B cells and T cells. Both types produce antibodies that destroy viruses and bacteria.

There is also a third type; the large phagocytes which surrounds the microbes that are invading the body, and swallows them. When the immune system is compromised, germs can easily enter the body and attack it.

Phagocyte Swallowing Bacteria

Phagocyte Swallowing Bacteria

Infections caused by microorganisms or germs that enter the body are a high risk for children with cancer that are undergoing treatment. The main types of germs that enter the body and multiply, causing illness or more harm to the body are viruses, protozoa (some of which act as parasites), bacteria, and fungal organisms.

virus-germs-set2-12797939Infections in those with cancer or who are undergoing treatment for cancer can be far more serious than the average individual, and can also be harder to treat. Those most at risk for infections are patients who have undergone surgery such as a bone marrow transplant or are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
This is why hospital wards in which these children stay while receiving treatments are highly sterile and visitors are kept to an absolute minimum.

 

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Late Night Thoughts of A Mother Whose Child Has Cancer (3)


photo of ethan with hair 3 months post-chemo

Ethan 3 months post-chemo for Rhabdomyosarcoma

 

As promised, here is this week’s article as penned by Ethan’s Mom, Gila Jacobs, on her feelings as an Onco Mom in dealing with the daily trials and tribulations of cancer. As originally explained, this article is posted as is to maintain integrity and passion.

 

13 June 2014

Today was one of those days that I found myself reading up on my son’s risk factors. Presently the cancer is gone, been removed by surgery, burnt off by radiation and kept at bay with chemotherapy. Will it stay gone though, I wonder… and for how long? What will I do if it comes back? Read the rest of this entry

In Rembrance of Connor


 

This goes out to Connor’s family…

photo of connor

Connor ~ Forever ^11^

 Connor would have become a teenager today. Little Fighter’s Cancer Trust sends out Love, Light & Strength to Connor’s Loved Ones

 In the Arms of an Angel

Spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For the break that will make it okay
There’s always some reason to feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
They may be empty and weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight

In the arms of an Angel fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There’s vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don’t make no difference, escaping one last time
It’s easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of an Angel far away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
In the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here
You’re in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

 

When Tomorrow Starts Without Me ~ A Dedication


This beautiful poem by David Romano, performed and read here by Stephen Meara~Blount in memory of his brother Tony, is dedicated to all parents who have lost their children to Cancer

 

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