The diagnosis came out of the blue.
Six year old boys get runny noses. Their noses get congested. We’ve all been there. But they still play, they still run, they jump, they hop, they never stop. But his nose stayed congested. It seemed like a cold, but with COVID, that was the first test. Nope, not that. How about strep? No. Allergies? No. How about sinus infection? Antibiotics didn’t touch it. We should get this checked by an ENT, Victoria thought.
There’s something in his nasal cavity, he said. We’ll just go in and remove it. But he didn’t. He found the mass, a large mass. He didn’t know what it was so he had it biopsied instead.
At the second ENT appointment Scott and Victoria agreed to keep their cool no matter what they were told. Unfortunately, Scott was not allowed into the appointment due to COVID, so he waited in the parking lot.
When the doctor says the word Cancer, you hear nothing else. Your body moves into a tunnel. You hear symbols, white noise, the occasional word. Like Sarcoma. You’re in disbelief. He’s only six. You think, well, you don’t think. You spin. And then that six year old looks at you and sees your reaction and asks what’s wrong.
And then you panic. And process. And cry. And you go into fix-it mode.
How fortunate for Victoria’s family to be in Dallas. Children’s Medical Center Oncology was their first appointment –immediately– to understand what, how, where, why? What about a second opinion? Everyone will tell you that MD Anderson in Houston is the place to go for the very best treatment.
It’s amazing how people are put in your path. Victoria and Scott had very good friends from River’s soccer team who started making calls when they heard the diagnosis. It turned out the husband was lifelong friends with the family of an Oncologist from MD Anderson, now retired. His son is currently a Pediatric Oncologist. They were put in direct contact with the Associate Professor of Pediatrics who also specializes in Sarcoma Cancer.
They were able to get a second opinion from MD Anderson, from diagnosis to treatment plan. And they agreed with Children’s, told them they were in amazing hands in Dallas and not to worry. MD Anderson would be there if they needed anything, anything at all. Victoria will always tell you this part of the story to emphasize peace and peace of mind. When Cancer comes into your world it is beyond drinking from a fire hydrant. You don’t want to miss any detail, any piece of information. But you don’t have time. You have to move quickly and make hard decisions. Decisions about the life of your child.
They began to understand that their family’s life had radically changed, changed forever. Victoria will tell you that her heart, her soul, her DNA has changed. She had better find a way to cope, to find focus and ultimately carry on. She did this by celebrating the wins. Wins are there, in every situation, even in the smallest ways. MD Anderson is one of them. You’ll take all of them, big or small, especially those you are all still hoping and praying for.
Children’s Medical Center is saving River’s life, but MD Anderson Cancer Center helped them get there. They are one of the world's leading Sarcoma research centers and are pioneering many advancements worldwide. Learn more at https://www.mdanderson.org/cancer-types/soft-tissue-sarcoma.html. They’re working together with Children’s to give Victoria’s family hope and peace.
I (LynnAnn) write this from a place of respect and admiration. Victoria and her family’s strength, attitude, composure and outlook inspire me daily. And I write it with love. Because that’s what really matters.
I also write so you understand why Own Your Vintage was put on hold, why we stepped away, but more importantly why it’s back. Victoria’s journey solidified our business purpose: To proudly support cancer research and their efforts to find a cure.