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Survivorship Matters Blog: Recapturing the Dream

Survivorship Matters Blog By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins, PREP4Gold During his teens, my neuroblastoma survivor Joshua was struggling in every way a person could struggle. Puberty had brought on new long term side effects, and reinvigorated old ones that we thought were behind us. His chemo-induced hearing loss progressed from moderate-to-severe to profound, and his hearing aides became a trigger for his migraines. The combinations of cognitive impact, cluster migraines, and chemo-induced ADHD made education almost impossible. He was doing the best he could on home/hospital care with a teacher who visited the house a few times a week. […]

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CAC2 Survivorship Matters Blog: Surviving Scanxiety in Childhood Cancer Survivorship

Survivorship Matters Blog By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins, PREP4Gold SCANXIETY –  just the word generates response in the childhood cancer community. One might tense up, suck in some air, get nauseous, or experience a tightening of the chest. There is no minimizing the concern that families endure before the scanning process and receiving the results that confirm the potential of cancer in your child’s body. It is a very sensitive, stress-inducing part of the childhood cancer journey. What is Scanxiety? Scanxiety – or scan anxiety – is a relatively new term. We didn’t have such a reference when my [...] Read more

CAC2 Member Blog–Taking Childhood Cancer Advocacy on the Road: Childhood Cancer License Plates

By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins, PREP4Gold For the entire month of September the world hears a great deal from the childhood cancer community, feverishly raising awareness, advocating for programs & funding, and sharing stories about treatment, survivorship, and bereavement. Social media posts are in abundance, medical experts and advocates are interviewed, and researchers publish papers with the latest data. Each day of the month, there is a great deal provided about childhood cancer as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) continues to strengthen in message and resolve. Come October 1st, some wonder what can be done to sustain some of [...] Read more

Childhood Cancer and Prevention – The Time is Now

Survivorship Matters Blog By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins My introduction to the idea of prevention and childhood cancer didn’t come from a yearning for advocacy and systems change. It also didn’t come years after my son was diagnosed, with a desire to help other parents learn how to nurture healthier environments for their children. It was thrust upon me during my son’s neuroblastoma treatment, by prospective buyers of our house. Somehow, they not only found out that my son was in cancer treatment, but they also found out the type of cancer he had. The couple had researched environmental toxins [...] Read more

Gratitude and Challenge Co-Exist In Childhood Cancer Survivorship

Survivorship Matters Blog By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins   The day that a child completes treatment brings a special kind of glory. Some hospitals even have huge bells to ring to signify the occasion. Regardless of the symbolic gesture, a parent’s spirit hears trumpets sound, now beaming where darkness and fear were ominous for months or sometimes years. One’s life immediately transitions at such times, divorcing from the days of treatment highs and lows, fears of pending death, and the mosaic of so many emotions when parents yearn for children to be healthy enough to complete treatment. It is winning [...] Read more

Childhood Cancer and Bullying – It’s More Common, and Has Greater Impact, Than You Think

Survivorship Matters Blog By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins My introduction to childhood cancer and bullying was in 1999 on a neuroblastoma listserve with ACOR (American Cancer Online Resources), the way parents and specialists congregated together before the explosion of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. My son had only been in treatment a few months, and a parent was sharing an incident that happened on the playground. Her son had been looking forward to getting well enough to return to school, and his fellow classmates decided at recess to taunt him by pretending to be afraid of [...] Read more

The Academic Impact of Childhood Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Survivorship Matters Blog By CAC2 Member Mary Beth Collins “Your child has to be alive to experience side effects.”  It’s a statement commonly heard by parents reviewing treatment protocol for a child newly diagnosed with a pediatric cancer.  At that moment, one is only focused on desperately keeping a child alive and achieving No Evidence of Disease, or ”NED” as is commonly referenced. At that time, it’s almost impossible to consider quality of life factors when parents are terrified that without treatment they will lose their child.  According to the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer (CAC2) Fact Library, more than 95% […]

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What Is Survivorship?

What is survivorship?  For anyone touched by childhood cancer, the word is intimate, emotional, and somewhat complicated. Whether you are a child in treatment or beyond, parent, friend, practitioner, or researcher, the word is familiar, personal, and identifying. For each person, the word represents something unique. Is it just a label? Is it elusive? Is it a dream never realized? Is it a charge? Is it determinant? A proclamation? A destination? A victory? A curse?  An honor? Survivorship in its entirety embodies all of this.   All versions are worth exploring, if we are going to really embrace what survivorship means […]

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