Ten-year-old Emma Lockwood is cancer free.
After having 110 hours of chemotherapy treatments, blood and platelet transfusions, radiation treatments and multiple surgeries for her bone cancer, the Sequoia Elementary School sixth grader was awakened by her mother early Monday morning to hear that her oncologist had called to say that her last scan had confirmed the cancer was dead.
“The Pet Scan shows the successfully treated Ewing Sarcoma and all the cancer is dead,” were his words to Michelle Lockwood who found it hard to believe what she was hearing.
Emma was so tired from the endless chemo treatments that she found it hard to wake up and told her mother she wanted to go back to sleep, ignoring the news. Later in the day it began to set in and she showed definite excitement, a family member noted.
Emma’s grandmother, Nancy Freitas, was at the family home Tuesday afternoon watching her other grandchildren while mom and daughter were at Kaiser Children’s Hospital in Oakland where Emma was getting another blood transfusion – one of many she has received to increase her strength. She is expecting to need more in the near future.
She said when the medical team cheered Emma’s release from the Chemo treatments on Monday, they all gathered by a golden bell by the door of the cancer treatment unit – giving their favorite patient a large mount board with all their signatures – wishing her well – as they took turns ringing that bell for her.
It has become a hospital tradition when a patient leaves the hospital cancer free that every one of the staff members and the family clangs that bell in their excitement. She will be getting checked every three to four months now with another scan to make sure everything is well, her grandmother said.
Emma’s mom jumped with joy with her arms in the air behind the bell during the small celebration with staffers.
Emma bonded as much with her oncology team as they did with her and she found it difficult to leave them when she and her mom heading out the door for their car. When she arrived home she told her mother that she missed the doctors and nurses and hoped she could go back to see them again.
It is unclear when Emma will be allowed to rejoin her classmates at Sequoia School but it was noted that she will have 18 months of water therapy in a swimming pool. But first, she is now contending with her broken pelvis that occurred after the first four bouts of chemotherapy. It couldn’t be repaired until she was cleared of the cancer treatments. Her mom has been homeschooling her for most of the past school year.
The staff of teachers at Sequoia School have been Emma’s cheerleaders wearing identical black and gold “cheer” shirts in supporting Emma. Many of the boys and girls at the school have followed suit in support of Emma.
Many in the community have also showed their support for her and her family by donating to their gofundme.com account to help defray the day-to-day costs involved with traveling to and from Oakland.
When they weren’t at the hospital, it was her mother’s job to keep track of Emma’s red and white blood cell count through pick lines and her temperature and being ready to rush to the Oakland Children’s Hospital at a moment’s notice when there would be a low reading. It was obviously a challenge for her and her husband to get a good night’s sleep, constantly worrying about their daughter. She didn’t give up that responsibility and remained constant in her vigilance.
Her mom said total strangers have brought dinner by their home unexpected.
Emma was pretty much in isolation in her home for the past year and couldn’t have friends over or go to the movies for fear of infection with a virus that could have claimed her life. She wanted a lap top computer to be able to stay in contact with her school friends. A woman unknown to the family came forward with one for her.
Emma had been a straight-”A” student who was described by her teachers and her friends as being “so kind and so nice” while having to be on 17 different medications to sustain her life.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.