Cancer Survivor Stories

Aiden’s Story

“April 15th, 2018 I took Aiden to his Pediatrician for a checkup, he was constipated for several days, along with his appetite decreasing. I started noticing he was having issues using the restroom especially at night. He would wake up from pushing so hard. May 12th. 2018, Aiden was running and fell on his bottom, developed a bump on his butt. I took him to the ER that same night to make sure that nothing was broken, everything checked out fine. Forty-eight hours later, I took him to his pediatrician again for a follow-up because I had noticed his “bump” getting larger, red and was now hot. The pediatrician told me it was a “hematoma” (A solid swelling of a clotted blood within the tissues). To make sure, I iced it. A few days later, Aiden was not walking and he started to sleep more. Aiden started to spike fevers, he was not eating anymore, his “bump” was now so large that he couldn’t even sit in his car seat. I decided to take him back to the ER, but this time to another hospital.”

“June 25th. The ER doctor told me we were going to be transferred to Miller’s Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, CA. At this point Aiden was in so much pain, they needed to give him morphine. CT Scans were done, we were waiting and waiting. Still no Answers.”

“June 26th. 2018 at 2pm. The oncologist walked in, he asked me to take a seat and asked me if I was aware why my son had been admitted. My heart was racing, my anxiety level was high. The dreaded words that no mother or family should ever have to hear “your son has cancer”.”

“Aiden Rodriguez, 18 Months, diagnosed with a stage IV cancer, called Germ Cell Tumor. I froze, my body went into shock, I remember this like it was yesterday. I remember his mouth moving and hearing nothing come out. The first question I asked was “what stage is he, and what are his chances of living?””

“My son was 18 months old when he diagnosed with a stage IV cancer, called Germ Cell Tumor. The term “germ cell” comes from the term “germinate,” which means giving life. In humans, germ cells produce specialized cells needed for reproduction: sperm cells in boys and egg cells in girls.”

“Aiden’s tumor is a sacrococcygeal teratomas, a mass that protrudes around the anus. However, these tumors can also be internal, in which case they may grow unnoticed for many months and may become malignant. Internal tumors may cause constipation, urinary retention and pain. (This is exactly what Aiden experienced).”

“June 30th. 2018 we started his first round of chemotherapy. Aiden’s treatment consisted of four rounds of chemo. Each round was 5 consecutive days. With three different types of chemotherapy medications: cisplatin, etoposide and bleomycin.”

“I had no idea what was happening, what to think, how to get through this. All I knew is that I needed to save my son’s life. We stood in the hospital for 40 days straight; we had completed two rounds of chemotherapy while we were admitted for those 40 days. This was a full time job; I lived at the hospital with Aiden. I witnessed my helpless 18 month old in so much pain and agony. Vomiting, pain, screaming, yelling, terrified. I was broken. “Why him? Not me?” All these emotions, anger, mixed feelings surfaced.”

“September 11th. 2018. Aiden’s 2nd birthday and last round of chemotherapy. It was a double celebration. We were almost at the finish line.”

“When Aiden first was diagnosed. His tumor surrounded his anus, entire pelvis and 20 nodules on his lungs.”

“Fast-forward to October 11. 201th. “SCANIEXTY” We were redoing all of Aiden’s scans to see how his chemotherapy took. Results were in. All 20 nodules on his lungs-GONE! His tumor surrounding his pelvis-COMPLETELY GONE!!!! All that was left was the remaining of the tumor surrounding his tailbone and anus.”

“November 17th. 2018, surgery Day, the day we finally remove the remainder of his tumor.”

“Cancer affects the entire family, I have two teenage boys that I did not get to see or spend time with them.However, what got me through this nightmare was the love, support from people all over the world. Especially from the moms going through the similar situation that I was in. I had so many people reach out to me that it was overwhelming at first, so many questions where being asked and so many people were asking to help. I could not even wrap my head around any of it. I just wanted my son to beat this Monster.”

“My advice to other parents that are dealing with this same situation is be the voice, be the spokesperson, be the advocate of your child’s diagnosis. Read, study, ask questions, and write down what happens to your child every round of chemo so you know how to take preventative measures the next round.”

“Cisplatin gave Aiden 2nd degree burns, every single time. I knew every round once chemo started what I needed to do in order for him not to breakout in 2nd degree burns anymore. I prepared the doctors, nurses and wound care team every round. I promise you it will get easier. Remember to breathe, eat, sleep, read, and most importantly take the help when offered. Step out of the hospital, get some fresh air. You need to be mentally strong every round. No round is ever the same. I knew when Aiden had chemo he would be down for 2-3 weeks. Minimize the home visits; don’t let anyone around your child if they are sick. Put comfortable clothes on them, have their favorite blanket, pillow, stuff animal with them.”

“The aftermath is just as hard, I would be lying to you if I did not say I am still scared every single time we have to get his tumor markers done. Aiden developed PTSD, he suffered from nightmares. I mean who wouldn’t right?? How do you explain to a 2 year what is going on, it’s been 3 months since we have been in remission. We have our good days and our bad days. I recommend seeing a psychiatrist for you and your child; group therapy helped my oldest boy’s cope with everything.”

“Last, but not least. You are NOT alone! No one fights alone. We are a family; we are here to support you.”

Crystal Rodriguez- Aiden Rodriguez’ Mom

Instagram: @Aidenstrong0911

Aiden, March 2019