A 2 year old’s life with cancer - we'd never suspected this is how we’d be describing our son… Dawid, our only child, is fighting death and we’re fighting for him. If his life ends, our world will end with him. He is the whole world to us. We're begging you to read our story and save Dawid. Without your help he'll be lost to cancer…
Our nightmare began a few months ago, 25 March, the day he was diagnosed. Our lives have changed and a new world opened its door for us - the oncology ward. The world in which children die… Dawid had been given antibiotics for two weeks for an infection he didn't have… Before then our Son was always happy and full of energy. Suddenly, he became apathetic and listless. We had been concerned, but we had not had the terrible fear we feel every day now.. We didn't give in as we knew that there was something wrong with Dawid. We took him to have his stomach screened. We wanted to know why he was unwell… in our worst dreams we didn't expect THIS….
The door in the doctor’s room slammed. She greeted us. The examination started. David's hands were gripping tight to ours. Long and ominous silence followed by fear and panic.
Cancerous changes in the liver. No time to wait. You must take your child to hospital…
Our knees gave way. The time slowed down and stopped.. Our heads were at first completely empty and then full of a million thoughts. Thousands of associations with this one word. Cancer means pain, death, children with hairless heads and veins burned with drugs… We didn't even have time for a cry, we went to hospital straight away. We thought we’d find hope there. Unfortunately, we've lost it.
The changes in David's liver were metastatic. The primary source was in his pelvis. The tumor in his abdomen was the size of two adult size fists. When we were told its size - 4.5 x 4.5 x 3.5 inch - we could not believe it. How could it fit in the stomach of a 2 year old boy? There was so much metastatic cancer that the doctor was barely able to capture it all.
The doctors’ reaction was very quick. Having had the results of histopathology tests assessed by them, we heard words which were like a sentence to us: stage 4 NEUROBLASTOMA - a tumor in the pelvis that has spread to the liver, bone marrow, lymph glands and eye socket bones. It can’t get worse than stage 4. Neuroblastoma is the worst cancer in children. It kills nearly all children who suffer from it. It's aggressive, malicious, unpredictable… The chances of survival in the final stage are around 15%.
Our fear was crushing our chests and taking our breath away. The tears could not stop falling. Our hearts were racing as in a heart attack. Our 2-year old son began what we wanted to spare him from so much - a fight for life. Dawid was given 8 cycles of very strong chemotherapy, which was meant to save him but was also destroying his little body. Our Son took the first cycle very badly. His health drastically deteriorated. His body was not coping with such strong drugs. Cancer was winning. Hour by hour we watched terrified and helpless how it was taking our life joy away.
Dawid’s tummy, legs and eyes swelled unbelievably. He was crying and suffering terribly. His pain was so strong that even morphine given every two hours could not ease it. His tumor began to press on the adjacent organs and caused internal bleeding. Dawid stopped breathing independently. He was dying. Our baby boy's heart could have stopped at any time for good.
"His condition is critical. He won’t most likely survive the next 24 hours… We need a miracle…"
The pain and fear we felt cannot be described in words. We had no alternative but to pray for a miracle. And there was - the doctors managed to stop the bleeding and disconnect Dawid from the breathing machine. We hope that we have not used up our luck…
Dawid has been through a lot - tens of very painful bone marrow stimulating injections, a dozen or so blood transfusions, and endless drips and blood tests. There is hardly any area on his body which has not been stabbed with a needle… We’ve had good and bad moments. Once the results deteriorated so badly we were put in hospital isolation for days. We've managed to finish the full chemotherapy protocol. Unfortunately, despite such strong chemotherapy, traces of malignant tissue remained in our son's bone marrow. A decision was made to give him another 2 cycles of chemotherapy.
Dawid still faces surgery, high dose chemotherapy, autologous bone marrow transplant, and radiotherapy. Finally, the last and most important stage of treatment - anti-GD2 immunotherapy, treatment which increases the chances to live by up to 20%! It’s also meant to prevent relapse, because in relapse the chances are much smaller… Unfortunately - immunotherapy is not subsidised by the Polish national health service, and it is essential for our baby boy to win his battle with death. The cost of the treatment is above PLN700k! An amount hard to imagine. This is what the LIFE of our son has been priced at….
We’re asking you for your help as parents of a terminally ill child. We’re begging you. Our son means everything to us and we’ll do anything to save him. We’ve always tried to accomplish everything working hard, but in the face of the deadly illness of our own child we are helpless.
We’ve witnessed other parents’ tragedy. We knew children who didn’t make it… We are heartbroken when we think of each one of them. We’re begging you for your help in order to beat cancer that wants to take our son away. Our son is only 2 years old - this should be the beginning of his life, not the end...