Kids with Cancer

Scan Day: Anticipation, Hope, and The Thing I Fear The Most

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
September 4, 2012

Ty, St. Baldrick’s 2010 Ambassador Kid, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was 13. Four years later and currently no evidence of disease, Ty is going in for scans this Thursday to see if the cancer has returned. We interviewed Ty and his mom to capture their thoughts, emotions and fears in anticipation of the big day.
  1. What do these scans signify for you?
    Ty: Well. Simply put, it signifies how far I’ve come in this battle against the worst disease anyone could ever be diagnosed with. It signifies the freedom I will have – not having to limit my schedule around my scan times. The thing it signifies most is after this set of scans. I’ll have a whole year away from the hospital. And a whole year to live my life, and pursue the things I want and need to do.

    Mom: This set of scans will mark 4 years from diagnosis and it will mark the strength of our family as a whole unit. For me as a mom, they signify courage, strength, accomplishment, life… those are the things that remind me of Ty and what he is and what he has. Each set of clear scans make living life after cancer easier and easier.
  2. What are your hopes? What will be the first thing you do when you hear the scans are clear?

    Ty: What are my hopes? My hopes are the same as anyone who has been through chemotherapy treatment. I hope that one day there will be a simpler and easier way to treat cancer, and ensure it won’t come back. Those are my hopes. The first thing I’ll do is take a deep breath and move on, as I always do. No point in dwelling on the past.

    Mom: Of course, our hopes are that they come back clear. A typical scan day starts at 8:45 with an IV start, a nuke med injection, a CT scan, and then off to breakfast we go. We return for the 30-45 minute bone scan, then off to lunch and back at 3:30 for an appointment with his oncologist. We get there about 15 minutes early, go down to the film library, pick up the report and scans, then head to the oncologist. It allows me to walk into the appointment knowing if I need a game plan or just a smile on my face. So far a smile is all I have needed… Can you tell we’ve done this for almost 4 years now?
  3. What are your fears for these scans? What will happen if they are not clear?

    Ty: Though I was skeptical about answering this question because I don’t like to think about it much, I know the possibility is always there. The thing I fear most in this world is the thought of something like that happening. I know I can’t control if the scans aren’t clear, if the disease returns. There is, and will be, nothing I can do about it except stand up and do what I do best: fight.

    Mom: Since Ty has never had cancer in any spot other than his leg, every set of scans brings less and less stress. We decided to never let “What if” be how we think, because when you allow those two words to take over your thoughts, they could literally drive you crazy. After Ty finished treatment and we received the first set of “all clear” results, we decided then not to let the results, no matter what they say, ruin or change who we are. We know we are fortunate to have gotten this far without complications, and we are grateful. Does that mean we don’t worry or stress? No. It just means that we don’t let it take over our lives. Cancer took a whole year away from us and it took Ty’s leg from him, so why would we let it take any more of our time or thoughts? We truly feel that God has a plan for everyone and if Ty is meant to stay cancer free, then he will; and if not, then he won’t. We will climb that hill if needed, but until then we will continue to live life and be thankful for all we have been given.

Read more Childhood Cancer Awareness Month stories or get involved with a St. Baldrick’s event near you!