L18 — May 2011 — Cancer Siblings
Intro: No parent can ever be prepared to hear these words: Your child has cancer. The family knows that all too well. They went through a tough battle to keep their child healthy. Chemo, surgery and months in the hospital. But during that process, they met a little boy who would step into their lives and change them forever.
These smiles on the faces of the Watters family are signs that they have made it through a very difficult journey. A journey no one would wish or hope for.
There's nothing that makes you understand you're not in control of your life like hearing your child has cancer.
When Corinne was 6 years old, she was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a childhood cancer of the bone marrow.
You hear those words and it just echoes through your head. Slow motion.
Mike and Deb Watters learned the cancer was in her hip and leg. Treatment would include chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, then surgery, followed by more chemo. But the problem was the surgical team at Mayo Clinic — led by Dr. Franklin Sim — was not sure it could remove all of the cancer without cutting her femoral nerve, the nerve that controls use of the thigh.
These are X-rays pre-chemotherapy and show the extent of the tumor involving the entire pelvis and adjacent to the bone and muscles and nerves.
Waiting to hear the outcome of surgery was tough.
I remember when Dr. Sim came up and said they had to cut her nerve. And that was OK. They felt they got it.
The cancer was gone, and a nerve graft would eventually help Corinne get back on her feet to do things like score goals in hockey.
She's got a little limp when she runs, but if that's the worst that came out of it, we praise God for that.
You'd think that after watching a child battle a deadly cancer one time is enough. But the Watters family chose to go through it again.
We had seen him in the hallway and talked to him in the playroom and noticed that anytime we saw him he was alone.
His name is Victor. A little boy in the same hospital as Corinne.
One night I was tucking Corinne in, and it was late at night, and I was going to get a drink of water. On my way back, I saw Victor in his room. The lights were out and he was watching TV, snuggling up with a couple stuffed animals by himself. And it just broke my heart.
Victor was totally alone. A foster kid without a stable family. He had the same rare cancer as Corinne, only his cancer was more advanced. It had spread too far for doctors to operate. So he endured round after round of chemotherapy.
Our hearts were just drawn to him.
So much so, that the Watters family brought Victor into their lives, not just as a friend for Corinne to race cars with while stuck in the hospital. As a son. They adopted him.
Someone who actually loves me.
Victor fits right in. He's part of the family.
I like to play soccer and hang out with friends.
Victor's going through chemo again because his cancer's back for the fifth time. But he and his whole family are looking toward the future with hope and abundant love.
He's brought a lot of joy into this house. It's like he's been here forever.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Victor just turned 14. Corinne is 11. They say having each other as they went through treatment made the experience a little easier.
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