Diagnosis: Bilateral Retinoblastoma
It was mid-April and I was coming from my mom’s house. As I got the kids out of the car, my then 2 year old son, Caiden, was walking in front me and he was singing a song. He paused mid-sentence and turned to look at me and that’s when I noticed that his left eye was shining, it looked silver and it freaked me out. I open the front door and my husband could see that I was concerned about something. I took my son to the kitchen and turned on the light but I couldn’t see the glow anymore. I remembered thinking at that time that something wasn’t right. My husband came into the kitchen and I told him what I saw and he said I must have been tired and seeing things. A week later, as I was in the kitchen, my son said he wanted some juice to drink so I told him to bring me his sippy cup. I stepped out of the kitchen to meet him halfway and as he was walking up to me, the blinds were open and I saw the same glow. I really freaked out then and said to myself “I need to call the doctor to make an appointment!”
A couple days later my son had a fever that wouldn’t break so I took him to the ER since the doctor’s office was closed for the day. As he was checking him, I wanted to ask about that glow that I was seeing. He stated “ I don’t want to alarm you but that’s a sign of cancer in children.” I felt my heart about to stop because I was so shocked, but that made me call the doctor and make an appointment right away. Tuesday, May 2nd I walked into the pediatric ophthalmologist’s office with my son. We were taken into the exam room so they could put the drops to dilate his pupils and were told to have a seat in the lobby for 10 minutes. When we were called back into the room, the doctor started the examination and within 30 seconds he said “Something is very wrong.” Those words were playing in my head over and over, and then he said “Your son has a large mass in his left eye, and we need to get him over to a retina specialist, ASAP.” I remember holding my son so tight as I was trying to process what I was hearing. I asked, “What does that mean?” He said “ I’m 90% sure that this is a tumor and that your son may have retinoblastoma.” This was my first time hearing of this and I started to cry immediately. He was only 2; he should be playing with his twin!! We were sent for a 2nd opinion the following morning and it was confirmed that Caiden had tumors in both eyes and we needed to start chemo right away. Hearing that your 2 year old has cancer is something that no parent should have to hear, but I kept asking myself “What if you didn’t take him to the doctor? What would have happened to him if this was not caught?”
My son has now completed 8 rounds of chemo and he shows me that he is strong no matter how sick he may be feeling. Cancer is very real and I didn’t know until May 2nd 2017 when it barged into my home! #teamcaiden #Godovercancer
If you would like to help Caiden’s fight against cancer, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-caiden and generously donate to the Santil family. No donation is too small, and all donations are greatly appreciated.