Lauren is an 11-year-old kick a$$ tumour ninja who recently celebrated 5 years of NED (no evidence of disease).
When Lauren was 5, she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a bone and soft tissue cancer in her lower back. Leading up to her diagnosis there were one or two times she complained about a sore back but she loved to swim, play soccer, downhill ski and roughhouse with her two older brothers. Ewing’s is a rare cancer and there are on average 12-15 cases of Ewing’s diagnosed each year in Canada.
While no one should be diagnosed with cancer, Lauren was fortunate for many reasons:
Rapid diagnosis - in just 12 days, she saw her paediatrician, arrived at Sick Kids ER, had numerous x-rays, ultrasounds, a cat scan and an MRI, had her first surgery to biopsy her tumour, and was diagnosed.
Care team - Lauren did not have just one doctor or nurse, she had a whole team – the Solid Tumour team, an orthopaedic surgeon, a plastic surgeon, radiologists, nurses, x-ray, cat scan and MRI technicians, who worked together and discussed what treatment options were best to save her life and to provide for her long term quality of life.
To treat Lauren's cancer, she was in hospital over 100 days, including 14 cycles or 45 days of chemotherapy. Lauren has had four surgeries including a 10 hour surgery on her spine where they removed her tumour, three of her lower back muscles, parts of three vertebraes, successfully re-grafted a spinal nerve and screwed in two titanium rods and plates, and four screws to fuse her spine. So Supergirl has nothing on her!
Today, five years later Lauren is back swimming, playing soccer, and skiing/snowboarding. The only activities that she should not do are jumping on a trampoline, long distance running and doing sit ups... but who likes doing sit ups anyway?
Lauren will require regular check ups and scans for the rest of her life to ensure her cancer does not return, to check on her spinal fusion as she continues to grow, and because of the chemotherapy she received, she will be monitored for secondary cancers and possible heart and kidney damage.
Lauren is a survivor.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars” - Thank you for all that you do - you are all stars to CCC!