Our feisty and fierce four year old Logan has fought and conquered one of the scariest battles all parents fear”.
A mother’s account of her child’s battle with cancer
Written by: Brittany McCrea
On March 7th, 2022, our son Logan was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a very aggressive childhood cancer of the eye. The news hit us like a sucker punch to the gut. Wiping away our tears, we went into fight mode, ready to go wherever we needed to go, and do whatever we needed to do for our youngest boy.
It all started one evening while having our family dinner. I sat directly across from Logan at the table in our dimly lit dining room. All of a sudden I saw a flash in his eye. It almost looked like a reflection from a CD when the light hits it just right. I was not overly alarmed as it was so quick, it was easy to dismiss. However, a few weeks later when his eye began to drift, I knew this flash in his eye must mean something more. A quick Google search confirmed my fears. I learned several reasons why these symptoms could be happening to Logan, one being Retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye. I was determined to find answers.
Alarmed, my husband and I decided to do our own “test” on Logan. First we covered his glowing eye. We held up our fingers and asked Logan to count. Three, one, five…. he counted each number correctly. Then we covered his non-glowing eye. Immediately his demeanor changed, he got frustrated, and he stated “I can’t see! that’s my bad eye”.
We were shocked. We now knew that Logan had severe vision loss in his left eye and needed help. The very next morning I called every doctor in our area trying to have him examined. I begged and explained my worries that Logan could have Retinoblastoma. Finally, I was given a referral to a pediatric ophthalmologist in Jacksonville, Florida. Once there, Logan had and eye exam with ultrasound. Our worst fears were confirmed when we were informed that our baby boy indeed had cancer.
The specialist referred us to one of the best ophthalmologists specializing in treating pediatric retinal diseases in Georgia. We drove from our home in Brunswick to see Dr. G. Baker Hubbard at Emory Eye Center in Atlanta. Dr. Hubbard’s team met us the very next day.
Over the next two days, Logan went through an exam under anesthesia (EUA) for the doctor to get better pictures of inside Logan’s eyes and an MRI under sedation to see if any growth could be seen outside of the eye. Dr Hubbard confirmed Logan’s RB diagnosis. On a grading scale from A to E, the tumor in Logan’s left eye was already at stage D. His eye had signs of retinal detachment, retinal seeding, and the tumor had grown to the point that it had caused almost complete blindness. We were very relieved to learn that his right eye was perfectly clear of any tumors and has 20/20 vision.
The doctor gave us two options, chemotherapy in the hopes of saving the eye or enucleation, complete removal of the eye along with the tumor. Dr. Hubbard was confident that chemotherapy would have a 70-75% success rate in killing the cancer and saving the eye itself. However, he could not give the same level of confidence for how much vision Logan’s eye would gain back after the damage that had already been done. We took a few days to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Ultimately we chose to remove his eye. We did not want to risk the chance of his cancer spreading. One week later, Logan had his surgery.
Within the first month after Logan had his left eye removed, he was fully healed. Soon after, we found out that the pathology test showed the cancer was contained in the eye. Logan was cancer free! Genetic testing also came back with wonderful news, his cancer was the sporadic kind, meaning there was no worries of passing this along to future generations. Both results were exactly what we had prayed for!
After fully healing from the enucleation, Logan received his prosthetic eye, and loves it! He calls it his special eye. Neither his battle with RB nor his prosthetic eye has slowed our boy down in the slightest! He was a champ through the entire process, handling every part of his journey with amazing resilience. His incredible strength and consistent positive attitude have been amazing to witness. We are so very proud of our little warrior.
Logan is now a very energetic, friendly, and silly 4 year old. He attends Pre-K and is enjoying it every day. He LOVES cats and the color red. (He keeps telling his ocularist, Dr Tony, that he better make the next eye a red one!) He is so quick witted and loves to chat with anyone who will listen. Right now he is fascinated with learning about different weather topics like hurricanes, tornados, and thunderstorms. Logan also is a little chef, if I don’t tell him that I’m starting dinner, he gets very mad because he ALWAYS wants to help cook. He’s 100% an outside kiddo. We go shark tooth hunting on a hidden beach near us on Jekyll Island, take trips to the Great Smoky Mountains to hike the Appalachian Trail and explore caves, and enjoy whatever adventure we can find. He is his happiest covered in dirt and exploring nature.
Our family is determined to share Logan’s story in the hopes of reaching others who have not yet discovered their own Glow. We first shared this journey on our personal Facebook page and were amazed to find that another child’s family saw our post and as a result recognized her Glow and were able to get her the diagnosis and care she needed so urgently. We hope that by continuing to share our journey we reach even more families and lead more children to diagnosis and treatment. We know all too well how important early detection of the Glow can be.