Sydney Stevens, Elk Grove
My name is Sydney Stevens. I’m 11 years old, and I live in Elk Grove. This is my story.
Stephanie Stevens, Sydney’s mom
The day after her ninth birthday, Sydney was complaining that her side hurt really bad…and she was walking kind of hunched over. So we knew something was wrong.
My dad took me to my pediatrician. I had a tumor—about a softball size—in my kidney. The cancer went all the way up the main vein of my body—about an inch away from my heart. I even had some blocks of it in my lungs.
When I heard the news, I basically laid down on the floor and cried. It was my worst nightmare. You know, you have your melt-down moment and then you carry on. You’re a mother and you have a little girl out there who has no idea what's going on. You have to walk back out, and you have to be strong and assure her that everything is going to be okay.
At first, I thought I was going to die because I kind of just really didn’t understand it all.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, we were immediately admitted to Sutter Memorial Hospital—the pediatric intensive care unit. Within four days, she was having surgery and was cut from here-to-here, across her waist. It was so reassuring to know that her oncologist was consulting the national tumor review board, was looking at the national protocol and had it all mapped out for me.
I remember the two dogs at the hospital the most—Millie and Hazel. After the surgery, they helped me learn to walk, and Millie slept with me. I also got to paint Millie’s toenails.
It really showed me how the whole team really works together—from our pediatrician, to the oncologists, the radiation therapists, to child life, to social work…it was so seamless. After three surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, in-patient and out-patient care at Sutter Memorial, and then radiation treatment at Sutter General Hospital, Sydney is doing great.
If I could say anything to the nurses and the doctors who helped me, I would say, “Thanks for being there when I needed you.”
That right there makes the difference. That's what it's about as a parent. I thank Sutter for being there for me and the rest of our family.
I’m Sydney, and that’s my story.
Now the Stevens family and Sutter Health are closer than ever.
I hadn’t been working while Sydney was going through treatment. At that point, I had a decision to make. I knew I needed a new job, and I was really concerned about my benefits changing and the fact that I might end up somewhere where I couldn’t have my Sutter doctors. And that just wasn't acceptable. So I told everyone I knew that I was getting a job at Sutter—and I did! To be a part of Sutter—I can’t even tell you. I was so excited to have the badge and to be a Sutter Health employee. So, that’s it…With You. For Life!