A Florida teen was diagnosed with cancertwo months before her prom and went anyway despite her diagnosis.
Claudia Medeus of Coral Springs was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in March. The 17-year-old Coral Glades High School student has always had her heart set on attending her senior prom. Nothing, not even cancer, was going to stop her. On the night of her may 18 prom, Medeus got glammed up and ready to go.
The devastating news sent her into freefall. She thought her life was over and her dreams were out of reach.
“Then I started treatment and it made me so sick and there was much risk,” she recalled. “I was scared to even go to prom. I just wanted to sink into a black hole forever.”
But the side effects of her treatment were not enough to deter her. Claudia kept fighting.
“After a couple of weeks, I thought, ‘It’s my senior year and I shouldn’t let cancer take my happiness away,’” she said defiantly.
Her immune system was weakened drastically due to the cancer and treatment. However, the teen’s doctors gave her the green light to go to prom.
“When I asked the doctors, it went from, ‘We don’t know to maybe to we’ll see to you can go.’ I was so excited to tell my friends, ‘Hey guys, I’m going to prom!’ At that moment I forgot I had cancer.”
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a soft tissue cancer that affects children and teenagers. According to Cancer.gov, the cancer is a type of “sarcoma that is found in the soft tissue (such as muscle), connective tissue (such as tendon or cartilage), or bone.”
Experts like Hector Rodriguez-Cortes, M.D., medical director of pediatric hematology/oncology at the Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital at Broward Health Medical Center, said treatment for the cancer remains a challenge. Drug resistance to pediatric tumors tends to make the cancer difficult to cure.
Despite the long road ahead, Claudia will remain a “funny, bubbly, crazy fun girl” who isn’t defined by her diagnosis.