Brody’s Song – Carol Henry
My name is Carol Henry and I am a survivor of bilateral retinoblastoma. I had a son in the year 2000 who was also diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma. I remember at the time of the diagnoses, my world just fell apart because I really wasn’t expecting it and I just couldn’t imagine what I needed to do to get through the next at least year with him.
I just had to get myself together and gather strength from friends and family. We were sent to a child oncology centre in New Zealand – where I was living at the time – to start chemotherapy. Brody was 16 months old at his first dose of chemotherapy, he went through 6 – 7 months of therapy and then another 4 – 5 months of observation.
He had his first birthday and after that he became very unsettled. His dad could see little white flecks in his eye and new that wasn’t right, so we went to the doctors who sent us back to the centre. They quickly took him into theatre and found more cancer which was worse than the original diagnoses, he had had a relapse. His body had resisted the chemotherapy so we were advised strongly that he needed to go through some more therapy or his life was hanging in the balance.
That was hard, the thought of going through all the vomit and the isolation in hospital rooms for weeks on end while his system strengthened so that he could fight just ordinary everyday bacteria. So we went though it again and I just got to a point where I wondered how much more I could take. I was sitting in the hospital room in isolation during the second course of chemotherapy and Brody had had a particularly hard time with a fever. That was really scary but he came through and he got back to a point where he was giggling and really happy and bouncy again.
That was what gave me the strength to carry on, his will to fight and his will to live. I just picked up the guitar and I felt like a needed a release of what was going on and all the emotions. It made me realize that as long as he is fighting then I‘ve got to fight as well, so I wrote this song called Anchor – Brody’s Song.