As Adham and his family drove from Zarqa to the King Hussein Cancer Foundation offices in Amman, his mother gazed out the window and commented on the beauty of the city’s architecture. As soon as Adham heard his mother’s comment, he exclaimed “You haven’t seen anything, Mama! You should have seen the buildings in Italy!”
Adham speaks from experience as he was among twenty pediatric cancer survivors chosen to spend ten fun-filled days at the Dynamo Camp in Italy; an ideal getaway and a welcome distraction from long and tiring treatment.
Adham’s story began when his mother noticed a slight swelling in his left cheek. Assuming it was related to his teeth, she took him to the dentist where she was told the issue was far more complicated than she had anticipated. Adham’s teeth were fine, but there was a swollen gland in his cheek.
The dentist’s diagnosis startled Adham’s mother and she immediately hurried with him to the nearest hospital – a mistake she would soon regret. After being admitted, Adham was submitted to surgery where the swollen gland was removed - without taking a biopsy.
Fortunately, a nurse working at the hospital was suspicious of the abnormal growth and took it upon herself to take a biopsy to the laboratory. Her suspicion confirmed, she rushed to tell Adham’s parents that the cells were cancerous and to advise them to immediately seek treatment at the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC). Despite their shock and grief at the news, Adham’s parents hurried to prepare their son’s belongings and Adham was admitted that very same day to KHCC.
The rarity of Adham’s particular cancer caused doctors at KHCC to seek a second opinion. Using the Center’s telesynergy unit, they were able to consult with their counterparts at several of their international affiliates, including M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and St. Jude Children’s Hospital, in real time. The resulting diagnosis was that Adham had rhabdomyosarcoma – a fast-growing, malignant tumor.
Adham’s resulting treatment plan involved taking chemotherapy every three weeks. Despite his parents’ apprehension, however, Adham remained strong throughout. He amazed his doctors by remaining in good health and not suffering from the usual loss of immunity as a result of chemotherapy. Adham’s treatment plan took a full year to complete and was followed by several sessions of radiotherapy as a precautionary step.
Although still undergoing regular checkups to ensure he remains cancer-free, Adham was nonetheless well enough to join the nineteen other KHCC pediatric cancer patients and survivors at the airport on October 11, 2010 for their memorable trip to Italy. The volunteers who accompanied the group agree on one thing: during the ten days they spent at the Dynamo Camp, Adham was the dynamic engine that had kept them all on their toes with his adventures and antics during what he describes as ‘a trip of a lifetime’.
This story was last updated in 2011