Jacob Simons

My name is Jessica Wickel and my son Jacob was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in November of 1998 just 5 days before he turned 2. In just a few short minutes my life was turned upside down as you can imagine, later that day Jacob was referred to St Judes. I was so afraid to walk in the door because I felt this was all a dream and I would wake up and this all be ok, but as you know it wasnt a dream. When I entered the door at St Judes, it was nothing as I imagined, yes there was little bald headed kids running around but they all had HUGE smiles on there faces. Later that day we met with the team of doctors that was going to be taking care of Jacob during this process, everyone was awesome so sweet and so kind and even wiped my tears as they ran down my face. Jacob went through 6 months of chemotherapy and the tumors shrank dramatically, so we had alot of hope, but as the months went by the chemo stopped working, and they told me all it was doing was putting toxins in his body, so out next step was radiation for 6 weeks Monday- Friday, once again Jacob tumors responded very well to the treatment, as the weeks went on all the radiation made one of his eyes hemoradge, the doctors didnt seem to be alarmed as they said this is very common. In Jacobs case the blood never dried up and his retina had dettached, Jacobs right eye had started to look dead, his eye color was turning green, so I knew something wasnt right. When we went for our check up the doctors said that his eye needed to be removed, he had no vision in it, and as I had thought, his eye was dead… so now we are facing the left eye, since having radiation Jacobs tumors were so aggressive that it just seemed like nothing could stop them, he was put inpatient with a radioactive plaque sewn directly onto his eye to try and kill the tumors that way and along with that treatment he had laser and freezing. The same thing happened again his eye hemoradged and the doctors didnt seemed concerned but in the back of my head was the same thing that happened to his right eye, so as the weeks and moths went by the blood never dried up which made it very impossible for the doctors to do his check ups, they didnt know if there were more cancer seeds, or if the cancer had spread to his optic nerve which lead to the brain, so the worst day of my life happened, when the doctor told me they had to remove Jacobs last remaining eye, I remember just screaming out in the waiting room, and everything that he loved to do just flashed before my eyes, but the thing that HURT me the most was knowing he would never see what his mommy looked like again, that was a hard thing for me to handle, but I have done it. I know the doctors at St Judes did everything they could to say Jacobs eyesight, so there arent any unanswered questions. Jacob is currently 9 years into being cancer free and leading a happy life. I am thankful God choose me to be his mom, Jacob has showed me to not sweat the little things in life, his attitude and personality, and his zest for life is what has gotten me to where I am at today. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this and for supporting St Judes!