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"Your child is going to die" - although nobody has ever spoken these words to me, they resound like a nightmare in my head. This thought came to me first time in January 2017 when the doctor gave my wife and me information about the detection of malignant tumor: neuroblastoma - in our 2-year-old son Julian. Our psyche collapsed into ruins, emptiness and darkness overwhelmed us, but we could not succumb to despair, we had to grit our teeth as soon as possible and start fighting for the life of our beloved child.
Julian was, and fortunately still is, unaware of his illness. He currently is only 3 years old, but for such a short life experience has gone through more than many adults:
- surgery to cut a piece of tumor out to analyze and identify the cancer,
- 8 cycles of COJEC chemotherapy - 3 months of chemo infusions, to top it off one of them was the worst cytostatics available. I will never forget the doctor's words: "Children are very strong, an adult would not have survived being given the chemotherapy Julian is getting now..."
- stem cell separation - after surgical insertion of the femoral entry. Seemingly innocent and even painless, but unfortunately it was the preparation for heavy artillery within 2 months – megachemotherapy,
- tumor resection surgery - 15 cm abdominal incision, allowing access to the adrenal gland and removal of the tumor. Postoperative pain and, most of all, psychological pain, his and ours, the parents. After the operation, Julian was in the ICU for several days. Polish standards are such that we could not be with him around the clock, but only during hours illegally appointed by the hospital,
- megachemotherapy - aimed at possibly complete annihilation of the tumor, however, leaving the body without the least immunity. Julian became defenseless for a week and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
Here, let us take a small pause. Look at the list above and grab the chair - all that I have described so far happened within 5 months (sic!) and concerned a 2-year-old - a two-year-old ...
The next stage of treatment - immunotherapy with antiGD2-antibodies in Germany. For some time everything went according to plan, until ...
During the treatment with antibodies, there was a strong neurotoxicity and therefore the doctors had to terminate the immunotherapy after 2 of the 5 planned cycles of treatment. Julian stopped walking, and he could not even sit by himself; he stopped speaking. He had a hard time - he spent 3 weeks in the ICU, slowly regaining his strength. This is the hardest period we have survived together. Side effects left a mark in his and our psyche: "Dad, tell me, why I couldn’t walk." It is disarming when a 2-year-old can ask a logical question about what he feels and does not understand why. I master the peaks of creativity when answering - so that I don’t lie to the child, but also without telling the whole truth.
To make matters worse, the immunotherapy was the last treatment possible in Europe to save Julian's life. Doctors, having no more options, decided to stop the treatment.
We, the parents, did not stop there. We started to seek therapy outside of Europe and found it in the United States - the cradle of inventions in the field of oncology. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Hospital in New York gave the opinion that it can carry out treatment with the innovative anti-neuroblastoma vaccine. Julian was qualified to carry out the therapy. The problem is "only" the quotation of the treatment we have received. We cannot count in this case on the Polish health care insurance. Julian - a little Polish citizen with Polish health insurance and struggling with mortal danger remains without the support of his homeland ...
That is why we are asking you, the people of the good heart, for a support that will enable us to conduct the therapy in the USA. We strongly believe that after its application, Julian will be able to permanently return to carefree childhood and forget about the horrors of the hospital halls that he experienced as early as at the age of only 2.
Help us, please save our beloved Son ...
We thank you with all our hearts for support.
Julian, Joanna and Bartosz Komajda.
PS. If you cannot help, please share Julian's fundraising post.