Mother Decides to Stop Cancer Treatment, Son Has Heartwarming Response

Erin Zammett Ruddy, 36, was diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia (CML) over 14 years ago. Since then, she has relied on a small, orange pill called Gleevec, also known as a "miracle drug."

Gleevec doesn't cure her disease, but it helps her manage it. The only time she went off of the drug was to have her three children. This year is different, she has decided to stop taking Gleevec.

She wrote, “I always thought I’d have to take Gleevec forever, but researchers now believe that for about 50 percent of CML patients, Gleevec (and the other drugs like it now on the market) could actually be curative, or able to put patients in what they call a ‘treatment-free remission.’ My doctors believe I am in that 50 percent. And I really, really want that to be true."

The trial will closely monitor Ruddy's health and send her for treatment if Leukemia returns. She told her kids about her decision, and her 8-year-old son, Alex, was concerned. He said:

“Honestly mom, I’m not that concerned. But maybe as the firstborn I should be. I mean I don’t know much about cancer, but I know it’s not a stay-at-home sickness like bronchitis. You’d probably have to go to the hospital, like, if you had bacterial meningitis, like that snowboarder from the Olympics. I can’t remember her name.

It’s not going to happen, this is fiction, but let’s just say you get cancer again. You’d be lying in bed all day and your medicine would make you feel terrible. And if dad is still working in the city he’ll never be around. Nora and I are pretty good at taking care of Molly. And I can make eggs—scrambled or fried—and guacamole and probably steak indoors.”

He added:

“We could feed Molly and play with her, but you have to be there to read to her and give her baths and put her to sleep. I’m not sure we could handle that.”

While Ruddy admits she's nervous, she hopes she can raise her kids "cancer-free."

Photo: Travis Hugget

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