At 8 months old, Annabel began having ongoing black eyes and discolored eyelids. Our pediatrician couldn't figure out what was causing the eye problems, so Annabel was sent for an MRI. While she was still getting the MRI done, our pediatrician called us to tell us that our sweet little Annabel had cancer, and it was very bad. The main tumor in her abdomen was the size of a racquet ball. Other tumors had spread to her bones and bone marrow all over her body.
Annabel was officially diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma on December 30, 2011. We were in total shock. She had surgery on New Year's Day to biopsy the main mass in her abdomen, and then went through 6 rounds of chemotherapy. She remained amazingly resilient, despite the nausea and dehydration. She stopped eating and required a feeding tube for the 6 months of treatment.
On June 8th, 2012 her MRI showed she was cancer-free and officially in remission. Afterwards, we enlisted the help of a wonderful feeding therapist to wean Annabel from her feeding tube. Since she hadn't taken any food by mouth for 6 months, she had to relearn how to eat. After 2 short weeks, she was eating like a champ! Annabel is now a happy, healthy toddler! She loves to play with her kitty cats and puppy dog. She has learned how to walk, and chases her pets all over the house.
No one ever thinks their child could get cancer; it's always something that happens to someone else. Unfortunately, for us that wasn't true. The staggering statistic is that 1 in 300 kids will be diagnosed with some form of cancer by the age of 20. It's our responsibility as a society to help our children, since they are not able to help themselves. Pediatric cancer research is severely underfunded, and Cookies for Kidsí Cancer is a wonderful organization helping children and families by providing much needed funding.