Bizzie was only a week shy of her third birthday party when she was diagnosed with cancer. We were living a typical, busy, modern day, two working parents, family of four life. Bizzie was the balance to our older son…where he was cautious and a bookworm, Bizzie was a girl on the go. The high point to our week was “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She loved jumping on the trampoline and running down the tumble track. Bizzie loved typical “girlie” things like ponies and the color pink, but she was equally into vampires and superheroes. Before cancer slowed her down, it didn’t seem like anything could.
Bizzie started to have symptoms. Her walk was off, she was drooling, she fell for no reason. I didn’t know if I should be worried. My mom came for a visit and saw her. She thought it was a good idea to bring her in to her pediatrician. We took Bizzie in that day for a visit to the doctor. At first, the visit seemed like it was going to be the first in a series of tests to rule things out. But then, the doctor checked her reflexes and everything changed. She lined up a CT scan at the hospital right away. We went over for the scan and that was where the doctor told us there was a mass on her brainstem. We were admitted as her brain had swelling that was an immediate danger. Later that night we found out that there was no cure for her cancer. DIPGs are 100% fatal. She likely had 6-9 months left of life. Our journey through treatment started with surgery to relieve the fluid buildup in Bizzie’s brain. Bizzie had post-op complications that left her limp and lifeless. She eventually began to perk up and we ended up being transferred for treatment in a clinical trial. Bizzie spent time every weekday getting treatments. Sometimes the treatments lasted only a few hours, sometimes all day. We made sure that the treatments were not the only thing in her life. We went swimming at a local pool, played at home, and tried to regain some normal routines in our life.
Bizzie lost her battle seven months after diagnosis. We are lost without her.
It is unacceptable that there is no effective treatment for the type of cancer Bizzie had. No family should hear what we did. No child should endure what Bizzie had to. Funding important research is the only thing we can do to help kids with cancer have a chance.