Jackson is a happy, healthy nine-year-old boy. He also happens to be a cancer survivor.
On February 15, 2009 at the age of 13 months, we took Jackson to the emergency room for an unusual lump on the side of his belly. A CT scan revealed a large mass was growing in his abdomen. After a week of tests, Jackson was diagnosed with Stage III, high risk Neuroblastoma. His cancer was on both of his adrenal glands, but he did not have cancer in his bone marrow or bones. The histology of his tumor was unfavorable, though, which meant we were in for a fight.
Jackson had six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery to remove his tumor, a stem cell transplant, 12 rounds of radiation and five months of immunotherapy that alternated with oral Accutane. He completed treatment at the end of March 2010 and had his line removed several weeks later. He is SEVEN! years off treatment with no evidence of disease. The biggest long-term side effect at this time is high frequency hearing loss, which requires hearing aids. He is in the 90th percentile for height and weight, and is in first grade.
Jackson’s treatment was mainly at CHKD in Norfolk, VA, but he also had radiation at Sentara Norfolk General (also in Norfolk, VA) and surgery by Dr. Michael LaQuaglia at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.