The Inspiring Life of Oscar Rudolf
Knowing that your child is suffering from a potentially terminal illness is the worst news for any parent. For James and Sarah Rudolf, a couple from Cardiff, 28th April brought heart breaking news that their youngest son Oscar had a cancerous tumor in his pelvis.
The symptoms were not very indicative initially and just manifested in the form of an upset stomach and stomachache. This diagnosis brought about an emotional storm in this family of five, which also includes Oscar's three brothers – Dylan, Ollie and Will.
The Fateful Day
Oscar had experienced some stomach upset throughout the previous year. The family's doctor had then requested for some blood tests that had returned normal. So naturally, there seemed to be no reason to worry.
However, a few months later, when the family was vacationing in Cornwall, Oscar’s condition deteriorated and he had to be taken to Hospital. This was when the University Hospital of Wales found the eleven centimeter tumor in Oscar’s tiny pelvis. Further scans and biopsy confirmed Ewings Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer in children.
A Difficult Time
While parents Sarah and James were trying to come to terms with the terrible diagnosis, they also had to answer a volley of questions being thrown at them by their children. It was not only about making Oscar's siblings understand the situation, but also preparing Oscar for the impending treatment.
James says that the questions ranged from “Does that mean Oscar is going to lose his hair?” to “Does that mean he is going to die?” These were impossible questions at an impossible time.
Nevertheless, the couple moved forward, answering questions patiently and beginning to prepare Oscar for treatment. They made him aware that he was “ill” and he would experience hair loss and potentially other side-effects as the treatment would begin.
After he was diagnosed with tumor in April, Oscar's Chemotherapy sessions began in May. He was given six high doses, which were just 21 days apart. Almost inevitably, the treatment did take a toll on him and infections kept him in the hospital, even between bouts of Chemotherapy.
After the initial treatment, the doctors prescribed targeted radiotherapy (proton beam therapy) and Oscar had to travel to America. The proximity of tumor to his bowels and bladder necessitated this course of treatment.
Sarah went along with Oscar and stayed with him for two months at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Both husband and wife admit that being apart made it harder for them to go through such terribly trying times. Regardless, there was no option. James had to stay back to take care of the other three kids.
Better Times Ahead
The second round of Chemotherapy has begun for Oscar. He has already received five out of eight doses. Fortunately, his tumor has also now reduced to a very small size, and is comparable to scar tissue.
Today this family is looking up with increasing happiness and some relief as they expect Oscar, a first year student in elementary school, to have a normal life once again. He's been presented the Little Stars Award from the Cancer Research UK for his harrowing fight against cancer.