9 Years Old at Diagnosis
Chase Ryan Olsen was born on March 20, 2000. He was our 4th child. He had 2 older sisters, and an older brother. He was so loved by his entire family. He loved to play with his friends. Chase was very friendly and outgoing. He could always make you laugh with his silly ways. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body.
In June of 2009, Chase began to complain of pain in the right side of his neck and upper shoulder area. At first we just thought that he had slept funny or hurt it playing WWE wrestling with his brother. But after 2 weeks or so it didn’t go away, and was interfering with his sleep, and eventually his appetite. We went to see our Pediatrician, who did blood work and referred us to a Pediatric Orthopedic. He examined him and found nothing wrong. But Chase continued to get worse. The pain was more intense, and it was moving all over his body. We went back and forth with the Pediatrician, and Chase was started on an antacid due to constant stomach discomfort. Chase began to vomit for no reason, and over the weeks he was vomiting up to 4 times per day. He began to lose weight because he wasn’t eating much and couldn’t keep anything down. We made 2 trips to local Emergency rooms, where they did a ton of blood work, which showed nothing abnormal. They also did an abdominal x-ray and told us Chase was constipated and to give him Miralax. This had now been going on over a month.
Finally in early August, the Dr ordered an MRI of Chase’s neck and brain, which thankfully was normal. They also had him see a Pediatric Gastroenterologist, who increased the acid medicine, but did no testing. The next day Chase was in severe pain and I told the Pediatrician that something was seriously wrong and we needed to admit Chase to the hospital. This is when our worst nightmare started. A CAT scan revealed multiple lesions in Chase’s abdomen. He was admitted for pain control and further testing. The doctors performed laproscopic surgery and a biopsy revealed Chase has rhabdomyosarcoma. The doctors wanted to start chemo immediately, and we were told it was Stage 4. We made the decision to move Chase to CHOP. There, the doctors told us they weren’t sure of the diagnosis, and needed to do further tests. Chase was put through another laproscopic surgery. We waited 4 long days for biopsy results, and when they came they were even worse than the original. That is when we were told that Chase had malignant rhabdoid tumors and he would need the most aggressive chemo. And there still was less than a 1% survival.
Our world turned upside down. My husband and I took turns staying with Chase at the hospital, while the other took care of our other 3 children at home. At the time, they were 16, 15, and 13. This was very difficult for them to watch their little brother go from a big strong healthy happy boy; to so sick he couldn’t even walk up the steps without help.
Chase underwent 4 rounds of chemo. At first he did well. The pain was gone, and he didn’t need to be on pain meds. However, he was so sick from the chemo; he had to have a J-tube put in for tube feedings. But Chase took everything in stride. He always tried to make you smile. And he always smiled no matter how bad he felt. In Nov. 2009, Chase began to get really worse. He was requiring oxygen at times and was having all kinds of medical problems. The doctors said they need to do another laproscopy to see what was going on inside, since they couldn’t get a good view from the MRIs. Chase came home for 1 week, after having spent 16 days in the hospital for an infection and other problems. When we returned to CHOP, the doctors discovered that Chase has fluid in his lungs and they could not operate. He was transferred to ICU and was on 4 liters of oxygen, which only gave him a little relief. A CAT scan was preformed. The next morning, November 20, 2009, we got the worst news any parent can ever get. We were told that the cancer was getting worse, his kidneys were failing and his lungs were full of fluid. There was nothing else they could do except make Chase comfortable. So this is what we did. For 4 grueling days, we sat by our son’s bedside and held him. We told him we loved him more than anything in this world. Family and friends came to say their goodbyes and to try to give us strength. It was like a dream. How could we possibly say goodbye to our little boy, our buddy! On November 24, 2009 at 6:50pm, Chase took his last breath on this earth. Our lives forever changed that day.
No parent should ever have to watch their child suffer and die. We pray every day, that no family has to face what we did. We need to find better treatment for children’s cancer. We need to find a cure!!
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