Waiting Game

by Melissa Brunner

I'm sure it's something cancer survivors (or whose children have survived cancer) will tell you twists their stomachs in knots. Even though they feel fine, they have that annual check to make sure they're okay, that it hasn't come back.

My family goes through a similar experience every year with my nephew Owen. I've told you about him before. Owen was born with NF, neurofibromatosis. The condition makes tumors spontaneously grow on his nerve fibers. Owen has gone through three rounds of chemo already on two tumors, both in his brain. He's also had a pair of brain surgeries to install shunts to drain fluid that's likely related to pressure from the tumors.

Every year, Owen goes for an MRI to see if any new tumors have developed in his body. He also sees all his brain tumor and NF doctors in one fell swoop on that day, making sure his motor skills, vision, hearing and other areas are where they should be. That appointment is this week. Owen is now 10 years old and is active as ever, but you always wonder what the doctors will say, what that scan might spot. There are extra nerves this year because one of Owen's arms is larger than the other, and they're keeping an eye on whether a tumor growing in the shoulder might be to blame.

So a few extra prayers are going Owen's way - as well as to all other families who have such annual visits part of their rituals. You all have a lot of strength and I wish you good health along your journeys.

Learn more about NF at www.ctf.org.


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