Riley woke up one Sunday morning with some swelling in her right forearm. After a few days of rest and keeping an eye on it, her swelling increased and her arm developed some weird bruising patterns. Riley has been a Type 1 Diabetic for over ten years so her parents thought perhaps she was experiencing some diabetic complications. She had her quarterly appointment scheduled for the next day with her Diabetes care team, so it was decided they would have her arm checked while they were there. They were hopeful for a simple explanation with an easy, quick fix. But after days of doctor’s appointments, scans, MRIs, biopsies and a visit to the pediatric oncology unit, they got the answer they prayed against, the answer no parent wants to hear: cancer.
News like that is difficult to swallow. There’s so much information in such a short amount of time. There’s much to process and plan, but their faith guides them through it. Riley has taken her Ewing Sarcoma diagnosis with a grace, dignity and acceptance far beyond her 15 years. Her positivity and light is infectious and evident to all who are around her. She’s already a hero to many.
Riley’s treatments are aggressive. Every treatment requires a hospital admission every two weeks for days at a time. Unfortunately for Riley, she’s been experiencing extreme negative side effects to her treatment: re-hospitalization, inability to eat, extreme nausea and fatigue, and esophageal sores. They are thankful to be so close to her hospital and her wonderful medical team there. Riley loves to sing, but the throat sores that she gets from chemo have taken away her ability to sing on many days, and even to speak at all. A lot of days she relies on text messaging to communicate because speaking and moving her mouth is too painful.