**Update: We now use this site as a way to update friends and family on his most recent appointments, and pictures. We appreciate the support that has been given to us and are not soliciting anything but prayers. Thank you for being with us on this journey. 🎗🙏🏼
Camden's story - narrated by his mother January Depew:
On December 13, 2013, our four month old Camden was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye/retina that effects about 300 children a year in the US and Canada.
When he was 2 months old we noticed that he didn't focus on our faces like we thought he should nor did he "follow" objects. It took until he was 4 months old for us to get an appointment with a pediatric optometrist, and then, we had to wait another two weeks for the actual appointment. It took Cam's nana, mom and dad all being very persistent that something just wasn't right, for us to get the referral to the specialist, because infant eyes aren't usually checked until at least six months of age.
While waiting for the appointment, we didn't have any idea what we were up against. His pediatrician mentioned something about cataracts and/or strabismus (crossed or lazy eye). At the appointment on Friday, December 13th, the specialist looked in his eyes with quite a few instruments and then informed us that this was not a cataract but in fact, something much more serious. He informed us Cam had tumors in both of his eyes. He said he would make us an appointment as soon as possible with the best specialist he knew of. He wrote down the diagnosis and we had an appointment with a specialist at UCSF first thing Monday morning (December 16th). It was a whirlwind from there. We saw the doctor on Monday morning in his office to confirm the diagnosis. He scheduled an eye exam under anesthesia for the next morning to see exactly what we were dealing with and then we would make a treatment plan from there.
The tumor in Cam's right eye was much larger than the one in his left. He was diagnosed specifically with bilateral retinoblastoma (tumors in both eyes), class E. This classification usually required enucleation (removal of the eyeball) but since his tumors were not attached to the nerve of the eye, the doctor recommended we start chemotherapy immediately in hopes to preserve some, if any, of his vision.
The results of the MRI ruled out trilateral, where the cancer is also in the vision part of the brain. You wouldn't know that in the middle of all this heartbreak, there were still things to be excited about, but this was something to rejoice! After the official diagnosis, that week consisted of meetings to map out his treatment, admitting him to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, surgery for his broviac (central line used to administer his chemo & meds, as well as pull blood from, so he doesn't have to keep getting poked), and then his first chemo treatment on Saturday morning at 2am. He was so cooperative any time anyone needed to examine him.
This boy was a trooper! He would get chemo for two days in a row every 28 days, with an eye exam under anesthesia before every treatment to check for progress. The medicines used to treat this cancer are known to effect hearing, so he will also have a hearing test each time, to keep track of his hearing loss, and reevaluate and adjust the medicines if they see fit.
After a lot of training and education on caring for his broviac (there aren't pediatric home health nurses in our area, so we would be flushing his line and giving him shots daily, as well as pulling blood for labs), and with strict instructions for signs to look for and things to pay attention to, he was discharged from the hospital on Monday, December 23rd. We were so excited to be able to be home for Christmas!