Dear Son, I love you, your fight, strength, and ability to overcome. You have conquered and persevered. There's nothing in my life that I can compare to your obstacles with childhood cancer and treatments. You are my superhero. Now live, laugh, and love. I love you from the bottom of my heart. Always. Love, Mom
Dear Solomon, I know that you don't know me but I want to say that you are in our thoughts and prayers daily. I also want you to know how much you are truly loved and how much of a blessing you are to your mommy and daddy and lil sister and to your family members and friends. You are such a strong, intelligent, special, and loving person and you can do anything you put your mind to. Sincerely, Julie, Billy, and Rowley Altenbaugh
Hello Mr.. solo you are very strong baby I love you and I will keep praying Wit God All Things are Possible Love You
Hey Solo! Uncle Jj here. I heard a lot about you but it wasn't until I met you that I finally got to know all those things were true. You are strong, fun and a bundle of joy. I would chase you around the house saying, "gonna get ya" and you seemed to like that. You have an infectious smile and I love that about you. I pray you read these letters in great health.
Hi Solo! I’m your momma’s friend Abby. The first time I met you, I picked you up and you ended up napping in my arms for 3 hours. Your mom kept telling me she could take you and put you down, and I kept telling her to leave us alone because you just fit in my arms so perfectly that I could have held you for hours more. You are so beautiful and so brave and I’m so glad that you’re making a full recovery. Your mom and dad need you to keep them on their toes and Bella needs you to look up to! I hope when you read all of these messages, you’ll know how brave you are. You’re an inspiration to us all Solo and we love you so much!
Hi Solo, You are a true warrior little man. I pray that this battle you just won is the hardest thing you'll ever have to endure for the rest of your life. I pray God grants you with a life full of blessings. Just know Solo that I will always be here for you all you have to do is call. I love you Solo beyond measure. Be happy and keep smiling. Muah xoxo
Solomon...you are my hero. You were such a little trooper and still managed to smile among all the pain and I am sure frustration of not understanding what was happening. You are blessed with an amazing family that now knows what unconditional love is, what ultimate fear is and lastly what hope can do. I can't hardly wait to see what an amazing man you will be. Love you bunches dear Solo. Your Aunt Vicki
Solomon.....you were meant to be here with us. I followed every update to your story. Enjoy your life. Take nothing for granted and live life to the fullest. And when you become a teenager and mom tells you to do a chore, if your response is, "Mom, I can't hear you," it'll be okay. She will smile. I promise. Love you dearly! Melanie Morris Esther's Friend
Solo, you give me courage to face the things I do not understand and the joy to appreciate every moment I get to spend with you. Today is a big day and you approached it fearlessly, thank you for teaching us all the great value of every life. It will be the biggest privilege for me to play with you again, hopefully someday soon! Congratulations my little guy, you did it with a big heart. Love you always, auntie Rachel
Solomon, what a tough journey you have been on. You have such amazing parents who have stayed so strong for you. Always know that your parents will always be there for you. You sir are a superhero! You fought this battle with so much strength and you slayed it! You are such a cool kid. You stay strong and enjoy your life to the fullest. God bless you and your amazing family. With love, Karen Nix
Hi Solomon, You have shown us adults what the true human spirit is made up of. You are truly a fighter at the same time not losing your wonderful joy. Your smile inspires me to keep smiling. Your bravery inspires me to keep pushing. You are loved! Wishing you continued health.
Solo, I'm your (make believe) Auntie, I been in the family over 30 years, Your Grandma Brenda is My Sister. I Been following you through this journey, Praying Every step of the way, I thank God ,For YOU, Such a smart and Cute Boy, Haven't met You Yet But.... plan to as soon as I can... Love you Nephew!!!!! Thank God Its Over!!!!
Congratulations on your website! Thank you for choosing website to share your experiences with your friends and family.
We brainstormed on how we should celebrate this accomplishment and we felt Solo would probably most appreciate going to Busch Gardens for the 1st time.
Our family is our community. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for our community. Thanks to each and every one of you for your support. You've made a lasting impression and impact on our lives and we'll never forget it. Thank you.
Solomon was born on September 11, 2015. He started walking at 9.5 months and into everything. He was what we perceived as a healthy and very energetic baby. An interest in soccer developed rather early and he started taking lessons at 18 months.
He was diagnosed with stage 3 Neuroblastoma a week after his 2nd birthday September 2017. He's currently undergoing treatment but has completed chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment. As of this past April (2018) he's official declared NED (no evidence of disease) and in remission. Solomon is almost 3 yrs old an plans to return to preschool in the fall. Solomon loves to be outdoors, playing soccer, jumping in puddles, hiking trails, and kayaking with his mother. If he must be indoors, he enjoys playing with his cars, coloring, tracing his numbers and letters, wrestling with dad, and telling his 1 year old baby sister what to do, whom he loves but is not quite keen on sharing the attention. As of this summer of 2018, Solomon will complete his cancer treatment.
-September 18, 2017: We demanded orders for bloodwork, x-ray, and ultrasound from Solomon's pediatrician. Solomon's admitted to the hospital for a large tumor detected and pediatric oncologists presumed neuroblastoma.
- September 25, 2017: Official Neuroblastoma, stage 3, high risk, myc-n amplified diagnosis.
- December 21, 2018; Resection Surgery (8 hours) - Left adrenal gland was removed and left kidney was saved. The entire tumor was completely removed.
- January 25, 2018: Solomon completed all 6 cycles of chemotherapy.
- March 2018: Solomon completed radiation therapy and was declared NED (No evidence of disease).
-August 3, 2018: Completion of all 6 cycles of 3F8 (Antibodies) treatment.
- September 2018: Completion of cancer treatment for neuroblastoma. All phases of treatment completed.
- September 11, 2018: Solomon's 3rd Birthday.
-October 2018: Start Neuroblastoma Vaccines (for a year)
Solomon started to display issues with bowel movements at roughly 9 months when we started to introduce solids. Naturally, the doctors explained that this is normal for infants to suffer from constipation when food sources has changed. At 16 months, his constipation worsened and we had to put him on miralax which we later changed to probiotics. Constipation was a common issue for Solomon. What we didn't realize was that constipation are one of the signs for neuroblastoma. The tumor which was growing from his left adrenal gland which is on top of your left kidney was pushing down on his kidney, making it extremely difficult for bowel movements.
At 18 months, while reflecting back Solomon began to display inconsolable pain only in the middle of the night. He would cry up to 2-3 hrs. We were informed that it was night terrors and that in boys night terrors began at roughly 18 months to a 2 yrs of age. Solomon was starting pre-preschool and his 2nd week in his primary teacher asked us if it's normal for him to be really tired and sleepy. Not our Solomon. That very weekend he stopped walking, talking, and eating. We took him to his pediatrician and we requested bloodwork, an ultrasound, and x-ray. We received the orders before we left the doctors office and we immediately did the x-ray first. A large, black, opaque image showed up. Something that didn't belong. We immediately rushed to Fairfax Children's Hospital to do the ultrasound. Once completed, the radiologist explained Solomon had a large mass in his abdomen.
We were placed into a private room that had a sofa, desk, and phone so that medical staff can make arrangements and also so that we can gather ourselves. Solomon couldn't understand the tears that gushed down our faces. We didn't have a cancer diagnosis yet but we knew nothing about this was good. Solomon was officially admitted to the hospital and the ER doctor explained that we should make calls to make arrangements for our daughter who was at day care and our jobs. "You're going to be here for a while," she said. She further explained that with the description with Solomon's symptoms of constipation, random moments of walking on his toes, like tip-toes, and where the mass was located that it was tentatively neuroblastoma. The very first time we've ever heard of this word.
We immediately went into denial. We did everything right we thought. How was that possible we thought. We were told it was night terrors a few months ago. After an hour passed we were escorted on a long walk which felt like miles. We were finally shown Solomon's room and it truly struck our minds. We were escorted to the pediatric oncology floor of the hospital. I cried even more. There was a rush against time to complete various tests to confirm the neuroblastoma diagnosis. From the tumor and bone marrow biopsy, CT scans, MRI, and MIBG scans they were able to run various tests which all confirmed neuroblastoma, stage 3, high risk, and myc-n amplified. The myc-n amplified (or non myc-n amplified) is a DNA essentially that indicates whether it's more aggressive, more resistant to chemotherapy, and has a higher percentage for relapse. Solomon was positive for all of it. Our hearts sank. During this week, the positive news we received was that it didn't spread to other organs, it was localized, and it wasn't in his bones but we were still devastated.
The very day his cancer was officially confirmed was the day he started his 1st cycle of chemo. Complications quickly followed. Every day was a new dire issue that would develop. Solomon was the problematic patient on the floor for awhile and it felt like all medical staff were on deck as they were constantly running into Solo's room. Since Solomon's health was severely fragile he didn't walk for about a month. Once his vitals were stable, physical therapy started. Once his blood counts stabilized, they quickly started the 2nd cycle of chemo without waiting the standard month in between. Time was of the essence.
Welcome to Solomon's virtual journey and story. We created this space as a special way for friends and family to celebrate with us - anytime, from anywhere. We hope you enjoy browsing these pages, photos, and stories of Solo's fight against cancer. The good, bad, and ugly. We also welcome you to leave a message for him as this page will be archived and placed in a CD so that 18 years from now he'll be able to view his page's entirety.
We believe a parent in our neuroblastoma support group said it best: "It’s only natural to show the positive side of being a cancer parent to our friends or social media. For the most part we post the happy pictures. As most of you know now, there is a perceived cancer world and then a real cancer world and people don’t see the horrendously ugly side of it because we don’t usually show it. Between blurred lines of the health care/health industry or business and how it affects a young child. Endless nights being up with our kids sick for weeks at a time, hugging your baby that smells like bleach knowing the same poison rotting their insides are the same ones that are going to save them, the heartache of every parent having to tell their confused kids that every day in the hospital we say “almost done” 400 times knowing they get to go through it all again in an hour. Knowing that when our family and friends say just take it day by day, we all know it’s hour by hour and quite often minute by minute. Having people sympathize with the struggle of our sadness and emotions of our kids hurting when you rarely have a chance to process the sad part because we are busy fighting for their lives.
People see us for a couple hours and see a glimpse of struggle as they eventually retreat back to a normal life but in reality as soon as we leave the get together, til the next time we see them, we grind out another 80 hours straight for our families. Getting an hour sleep but feeling rested. The feeling we get after a few months of care when you start searching for every option and the anguish of picking the right one because you realize the amount of options and doctors. The financial devastation it causes. Seeing your other kids affected and feeling less important once in a while and how it hurts inside knowing you don’t have the time some of those days. The feeling of disappointing most of your loved ones because you didn’t get back to them because of course they should have been updated by now. Finally getting to go on a date but having it cancelled 5 minutes before you leave because they got sick. We all have an appreciation for every moment we have with our families that nobody could ever understand unless they live it but sometimes the daily grind just breaks you for a bit.
I think if society saw more of the ruthless side of cancer we would make a bigger impact. I dare everybody to post a picture or two of the struggle. We’ve all taken pictures and videos of the brutal side. Our friends may not be able to but I empathize with all of you and we will continue to support everybody as you all have done. We are a relentless network of people and we will cure this beast someday. For those at a bbq, have a blast, for those in the hospital, I hope you are safe and home soon, for those grinding this moment stay strong, and for those that have lost theirs, my heart breaks for you everyday. Take care and make it the best day possible.
The more society sees cancer for what it really is the more it will get attention. Attention = research which = results.