At age 4, Dante was diagnosed with Anaplastic Wilms Tumor (kidney cancer).
On September 23, 2006, a day that will forever live in my memory, my son was diagnosed with an anaplastic Wilms tumor at the age of 4. “Your child has cancer,” are words no mother ever wants to hear!
Dante was an energetic child who was full of laughter and love, how could he possibly be sick? The next few weeks are somewhat of a blur as I attempted to take in a lifetime of medical information in a few short days and make the decision that would give my son the best chance of surviving his illness. Medical language, procedures, medications, and hospital life became our new reality. Dante spent one (1) month of intensive radiation. He had a chemotherapy schedule that consisted of a year of treatment with as many as 5 days at a time being spent in the hospital being given 5 different types of chemo drugs each day. He had countless surgeries to place permanent IV lines, remove his tumor, kidney, lymph nodes surrounding his kidney, gallbladder, and the majority of his jejunum (part of his intestine), as his tumor had begun to spread. He had other surgeries that were to “correct” complications that arose due to his treatment.
We spent practically every major holiday in the hospital, complete with a visit from Santa on Christmas day. Throughout the entire ordeal he smiled, some days the smile was a little dimmer than others, but every day he smiled and occasionally you could see a glimmer in his eye. The same glimmer that once made him so full of life would be the glimmer that would keep him alive. There were days where rolling over in bed was impossible without assistance, and days that he “rode” his horse throughout the halls of the hospital with a tired mother dragging his IV pole in an attempt to keep up.
This fall, Dante will celebrate 5 years from date of diagnosis! He is a charming 9-year-old boy with a zest for life. He loves playing flag football, airplanes, video games, and anything sports related. He still wears the scars of his journey on his body and his soul, but this fall he can claim to have “kicked cancer’s butt!”