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My Story

the pessimist borrows trouble and the optimist lends encouragement.

I was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma on April 8, 2005 and immediately admitted to UVA hospital in Charlottesville, VA for removal of 4cm tumor on my right adrenal gland.  After 5 rounds of chemo under Sloan Kettering's protocol at UVA I finally transferred my care to NYC at Sloan in September of 05.  I was NED after 3 rounds of chemo on my first MIBG scan July 8, 2005.  We harvested stem cells in September of 2005. I underwent radiation for 7days twice a day in October 2005. Then came the antibodies in October 10/05-10/07 and never became hama positive, so I endured all 13 rounds.  I've remained in remission for 3 years and 9 months but just found out we relapsed in my hips and knees (bone marrow only) on April 7, 2009.  A medi port access is scheduled at UVA hospital with Dr .Eugene McGahren on thursday, April 16th and then heading to Sloan Kettering to receive our chemo on  April 20, 2009.  I have endure 3 rounds of high dose chemo both at UVA and Sloan Kettering since my relapse.  It's been a struggle to overcome the secondary infections that I got during post chemo while my body was immunosupressed and I was trying to get better.  In addition to multiple gram positive and gram negative blood stream infections, I also got a candida tropicalis infection (which is yeast) in my blood stream that landed me in the hospital over 2 months and almost took my life 3 times.  I seem to always prevail even the worst situations.  I have also endured 12 days of radiation since relapse and multiple procedures (medi port placement, removal, bone marrow biopsies, catherizations, a picc line placement, poking and proding constantly for veins that seemed to have crumbled from chemo, fem line placement and removal, art line placement and removal).  I'm here though and I'm feeling good, just finished my first low dose chemo (number 10 for my life) and have 1 more low dose chemo to go then off to scans the beginning of April.  I have one tiny spot left of cancer on my sacrum (lower spine) that we continue to fight and hope to receive the vaccination for neuroblastoma once I'm clean and stay that way for 6 months.  Hopefully that is the answer for this monster of a disease.  Mom will try to keep everyone posted as much as possible, but we're quite busy these days trying to live life.. :) 


Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

I can't tell you how many times in the past 6 weeks I tried to update this site and just couldn't bring myself to do it.  What to say, what to say.  I know we owe it to ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry, "VENUE CHANGED FOR CELEBRATION OF LIFE".

Here's the latest, greatest and final plans for the celebration of life.  Sorry for all the confusion and change in venue, but I think the more appropriate venue to honor ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

Thank you everyone for the heartfelt condolences and support.  It means so much to my family and I.  We are overwhelmed I must say with arrangements, grieving, visitors, ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

My last journal entry was 11 days ago and as many of you who have lived in the cancer world are well aware, a lot can happen in that short time.  My mellinum, beautiful ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

Mason has been doing well, we are challenged each day of course with nose bleeds, low platelets and blood counts, as well as pain.  He continues to eat and drink, gets ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

Yesterday's post was a sad one, so I wanted to lift spirits today and let everyone know how Mason's day was yesterday... We were surrounded by family and friends of ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

Yesterday the family met with the docs at UVA.  Dr. Alesanski gave us a life expectancy for Mason of days to maybe weeks.  His ct scan showed several spots in his liver ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry, "CT results".

As I sit in the er today for my own pain, a crowded er it was after a 3 hour wait, I got the call.  Dr. Alesanski called to tell me the results of the ct.  The ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

Mason has been doing really well, showing improvement each day.  No fevers.  The yard is beautiful now, we had a wonderful wedding at our house this past Sat.  ... Read more

Kelley Kassay posted a new journal entry.

Friday was lab day, we drew the labs at home and brought them to the hospital.  Mason still was feeling a lot of pain but Thursday late night I finally got the phentanyl ... Read more

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