Three-year-olds eye cancer returns
AMHERST - It wasn't the news Steve and Nancy Boudreau were hoping for earlier this month when they traveled to SickKids in Toronto with their daughter.
Their daughter, Clare, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma a little more than a year ago - two days before Clare's second birthday.
Now, after a year-long battle that saw Clare, now three, undergo four treatments of chemotherapy and 12 exams under anesthesia, the tumour has returned.
"It was the first of October and Clare came out of her EUA when Dr. Heon told us one of two things happened. One, that the tumour was provoked and is back for one last ditch effort, or two, it will continue to grow," said Nancy from their home Tuesday afternoon.
If the tumour continues to grow, the doctors could recommend the eye be removed.
Following her diagnosis, Clare went through treatment, including chemotherapy and lasers, to fight the tumour.
In January, the doctors gave the Boudreaus some good news - the tumour was dead.
"They stopped her laser treatment in April, and from May to July the tumour was left alone," said Nancy.
During Clare's first trip to Toronto at the end of August, the doctors were happy with the results and told the family their next trip would probably be their last bump in the road.
"The doctors were really surprised the tumour was back," added Nancy.
Steve said the battle, which put their daughter through a lot, has been frustrating.
"It's been an ongoing battle for a year and you expect good news at the end," he said.
"I don't think Clare can see that well with her eye."
The family tried patching Clare's right eye to see if the left eye, which had the tumour in it, would function, even just a little bit. Nancy said her daughter could only wear the patch for about a minute each time.
"The eye is really of no use to her other than it being her eye," she said.
Next up for the family is a trip to SickKids for another EUA.
Nancy, Steve and Clare leave Sunday for an appointment early Monday morning.
"If things are going favourably, we can continue things there or go back to the IWK," said Nancy.
"If the eye needs to be removed, it will then be a conversation between us and the IWK."
Throughout their battle, the Boudreaus said the community support has been amazing.
"They've been tremendous with the support. At the IWK, everyone has been amazed by the community support, and it's not just Amherst, it's the whole county," said Nancy, adding the support was so overwhelming they turned down fundraising opportunities people approached them with.
"But we do appreciate all that has been done," she added.
Not only have people contributed financially, but Steve and Nancy said people have been writing letters, sending e-mails and asking members of their family how Clare is doing.
They're even sharing their own stories, which Nancy says helps to put things into perspective.
For more information on the disease, visit www.rbsociety.ca
, where Clare's picture showing the signs of retinoblastoma is on the home page.