One morning (November 21, 2008 to be exact) while Daddy was getting Dorothy ready for daycare, he was tickling her and they were both laughing joyfully. As he was tickling her belly he felt a lump on her right side and immediately became concerned. In fact he became light-headed because "cancer" popped into his head. However, he dismissed the idea because "our little 17-month old couldn't get cancer."
That was Friday morning. I (mommy) was already on my way to work and when I picked Dorothy up from her daycare, I learned of the concern. Apparently, my husband had asked the ladies their opinion earlier that morning. Well, as the weekend progressed we sprawled, stretched and maneuvered Dorothy in all directions in order to see this protrusion on her side. Monday we took her to our pediatrician. She was asymptomatic and perfectly healthy but something was not right. Our pediatrician took one look and ordered us to have CT scans done immediately. Dorothy had already eaten and she could not be sedated, so we went home and returned the next day. That day was the beginning of our journey.
>After her scans, we needed to go to the grocery store. I will never forget standing in the front waiting for my husband and my phone rang. Dorothy's pediatrician simply asked, "Where would you like to go, Houston or Austin?" Many tears were shed at that moment. The next day we were at Texas Children's speaking to an oncologist and a pediatric surgeon.
Dorothy was diagnosed with a stage II Wilms' tumor of favorable condition and immediately had surgery to remove her right kidney. We were told that she would need to have 6 months of chemo just to kill any little cell that may have escaped and there was an 85% chance that she would be cancer free for the rest of life. We thought, "6 months? It will be tough but we can handle it." So after 6 months of outpatient chemo once a week, we were thrilled for the 3 week post-chemo scan. We looked forward to her corn silk hair growing back and just a week without going to the hospital. Unfortunately, that day is another day I will never forget. Not only had Dorothy's cancer returned but it had metastasized to her lungs. Not in one lung, but both and not just in a spot or two, but "too many tumors to count." Now another voyage began. Dorothy underwent radiation, inpatient chemo, outpatient chemo, blood transfusions and many other tests to make sure her heart, kidney and liver were functioning properly.
Just recently, December 30th, 2009 scans still show numerous spots showing up in Dorothy's lungs. But the good news is these spots are exactly the same as the spots showing up in her November scans. She has been off chemo since late November of 09, and we are certain these "spots" are just dead tumor and scar tissue. Our 2 year old June bug now has white fuzz all over her head is full of spirit.
The past 14 months of our lives has enlightened us to so much it is hard to put into words. The families you meet, the children you meet fighting for their lives, the joys and the sadness. You question everything and just pray for life.
Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a wonderful way to help improve the chances of our cancer warriors and we encourage you to help!