Hi, I’m Luca. I just turned thirteen in June. My mom said I was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma when I was four months old. We went in for my four-month routine checkup and our doctor found a golf ball sized mass on my right kidney. From that day on, I’ve been in and out of a lot of hospitals. I’ve had chemotherapy (which didn’t work for me – it made my tumors grow bigger) and surgery (when the tumor got too big the doctors decided to take most of it out). At eight months old I had a thirteen-hour surgery to remove a kilogram of tumor and my right kidney from my tummy. The doctors weren’t sure I was going to make it out of the surgery, but I showed them! Since then, we have continued to monitor the masses that were left behind. I have bloodwork and scans (MRI’s and ultrasounds) done every six months to make sure they are not growing.
I hate bloodwork – it used to take mom and three other nurses to hold me down to take blood from my arm. That was until nine years ago when I was connected to Kids Kicking Cancer. They started their Windsor, Ontario program and I got to take lessons from Sensei Peter. He managed to teach me power breathing and I’ve had lots of opportunities to use it. The first time I used it, I was so proud of myself (and my mom was too!) I wanted to call Sensei Peter from the hospital right away! I also learned how to lay very still through all of my scans. I was able to lay still and breathe through an MRI and a CT scan of my entire body, followed by an hour and a half long bone scan for the first time without sedation that summer!
We found out in April 2012 that the tumors on my liver and kidney started to grow again. I’ve had a couple of big surgeries since, and I am expected to endure more tests and surgeries in my future. While I was in the hospital, they had to take lots of blood and put in (and take out) all kinds of tubes. I used my breathing a lot and told everyone that would listen about Kids Kicking Cancer. The IV team lady wanted to know all about the program because she’d never had a kid breathe through an IV at two o’clock in the morning like I did! My nurses thought I was amazing! My mom and dad are so grateful that my brother, my sister and I can take part in Kids Kicking Cancer – it’s helping all of us in lots of different situations in our lives.