AJ Sawyer is an adult childhood cancer survivor. Her story is inspiring and provides hope for those still in the midst of their battle with childhood cancer. AJ wanted to share her story with CURE Childhood Cancer in order to encourage those struggling through the hardships of this monster of a disease.
Below AJ shares her story in her own words
It all started in the spring of 1973. I was just three years old. My mom had taken me to my pediatrician for a check up. While I was being examined in the area around my stomach, a very serious look came across my doctor’s face.
At that time, he said that he would like his partner to confirm what he had discovered. After his partner examined me, they told my mom to take me to Henrietta Egleston Children’s Hospital immediately. When my mom and I arrived, I had some x-rays and a CT-Scan.
After the doctors looked at the results, they confirmed my diagnosis: Stage Three Neuroblastoma. It was a malignant tumor in the area between my abdominal aorta and kidney. My parents’ worst fears happened on that day.
In the days ahead, everything was a blur and still remains that way today. My dad, who is a general practitioner feared the worst, but prayed for a miracle.
Before I was born, my dad worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. At the time when I was diagnosed, he knew the right doctors to contact to help cure me. I endured surgery and one year of chemotherapy. My mom told me that after my surgery, the surgeon came out with a puzzled look on his face. He said that most Neuroblastoma tumors spread very fast. When he found my tumor, he said that it was caught early and had not invaded any of my vital organs. My parents, friends and family were all very happy and amazed at this wonderful miracle. Today when I see someone who knew what I endured, they say I’m a miracle child.
Due to the amount of “chemo medicine” my body endured, I started having problems with my short and long term memory. So, my dad and I decided to visit my Oncologist. I told him what was going on and he diagnosed me with a “Long Term Side Effect Reaction” from the poisons in the chemo used to fight my Neuroblastoma. This is still a day-by-day struggle for me.
Chemotherapy also took away my ability to drive a car and I’m battling day-to-day problems with memory lapses. As I’m still learning to live with this, please keep me in your prayers for strength and understanding. Also, please donate to CURE Childhood Cancer so that they may continue on the vital research needed to end the fight against this monster I and too many children know as childhood cancer.