It took my son a long time to recover from having Rhabdomyosarcoma, as there were some late and long-term side effects from his treatment.
One side effect was damage to his teeth.
As a small child, he had perfect teeth and it was upsetting to see the damage chemo and radiotherapy had caused. Adult teeth came through in the wrong place, at strange angles and with very short roots. The dentist at Great Ormond Street Hospital began trying to fix things. However, before this orthodontics treatment could be completed, my son was experiencing a lot of pain which needed investigating.
The GP diagnosed an ear infection and prescribed antibiotics. Familiar story!
The antibiotics didn’t work, and the pain continued to be unbearable. The GP, after trying to prescribe more antibiotics, did succumb to making a proper referral for cancer tests and before we knew it, we were caught up in a whirlwind again.
The first thing was an MRI scan and this showed a possible tumour in his jaw/cheek. The next step was a needle biopsy performed under local anaesthetic using ultrasound to guide the needle.
We didn’t have to wait long for the results, and the confirmation that cancer was back. As I wrote in part one of this series, I thought it was a relapse of the Rhabdo at first. It was a shock to discover it was a completely different type of cancer.
The oncologists told us that his first cancer was rare, and this was even more rare.
At the point that cancer was confirmed, I switched to autopilot. It is an unpleasant place to be, but it is familiar, and it is partly that familiarity that gets you through those first few days and weeks of shock and adjustment.
Yet another year ended with my son going towards his birthday and Christmas with chemotherapy scheduled.
For general information about Osteosarcoma in Children, please read: https://www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk/childhood-cancer-info/cancer-types/osteosarcoma/
My son had an extremely RARE case, so I would like to reassure other parents that it isn’t 100% going to happen to their child, but it is a possibility if your child has high dose radiotherapy.
To be continued …