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Zaida’s Story

Zaida (ZAY-da) turned 3 in September 2007. We learned she has cancer on October 31st, 2007. After eight very difficult and scary days in the hospital, we learned it was peritoneal carcinomatosis, resembling ovarian cancer and mesothelioma (neither of which should happen to a 3-year-old). She is now 10 and still an energetic and bright girl, even after all she has been through.

Click on 'Read More' below for more information about Zaida and how to DONATE TO ZAIDA directly through Zac's Legacy where the money will go towards her medical care.  


Using this "Donate Today" button will allow you to donate to CaringBridge, NOT TO ZAIDA AND HER FAMILY!!!

Zaida has been a cancer patient for over 7 years!  She had 3 years of various chemos and significant surgeries. After this, we had 22 months of remission, treatment-free! Zaida relapsed in April 2012, and had surgery and radiation (first time for radiation) over the summer. Then, she had 2 years of post-radiation chemo, and again went off-treatment this past October.

In December 2014, we learned that Zaida was having another relapse, and we must fight cancer again. We are heading to MD Anderson to see our options, develop a plan, and take action!  Zaida will likely have a lengthy surgery and hospital stay in March.

Zaida has a sister Runa (age 12) who is wonderful and supportive! They both love Minecraft, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, Harry Potter, fairies, magic, and animals.

Please help support us in creating history - by helping us beat this unique illness. We welcome all the love and support we can get. Please sign our guestbook and read our journal. 

There is a fund set up for Zaida's medical care.

Donations can be sent to:

Zac's Legacy Foundation, Inc.

2990 W. 29th Street, Suite 1

Greeley, CO 80631

Please write 'Zaida Mattson' in the memo portion of your check.

Visit www.zacslegacyfoundation.org. All donations marked for Zaida will go directly back to the family. Also, visit www.zacslegacyfoundation.org for information on a tax deductable receipt.

Nichol has also started a home-based business to help with medical costs.  Please visit  www.facebook.com/HandmadeByNicholMattson and consider purchasing some handmade soap or hand-crocheted scarves.  They make wonderful gifts!

Latest Journal Update

A Small Ray of Hope???

Sorry I haven't posted an update since before the consultation trip to Houston! On February 18th, Zaida and I met with her new MD Anderson oncologist, Dr. Huh, and the pediatric surgeon there, Dr. Hayes-Jordan.

Dr. Huh said we have 2 options for this relapse (or "salvage therapy," a term I've never heard) before surgery. Zaida could go back on the irinotecan and temodar that she was on for 2 years (and just went off in October). We know she can tolerate it well, it is out-patient, and it "didn't truly fail." It likely had value in controlling the cancer to a certain extent, though obviously not fully. The other option is a drug Zaida's never been on, vinorelbine, which is used for breast and lung cancers. It has more evidence of effectiveness for cancers in the pleura, and some (less) evidence in peritoneal cancer (what Zaida has).  It is a short, out-patient, weekly infusion that is well-tolerated, but may drop her counts. Also, it works for only 1 out of 4 patients.

The meeting with Dr. Hayes-Jordan provided a possible small ray of hope for us! She does not think the tumors are in the lung area (a separate zone of the body from the abdomen). She thinks they are above the liver area, pushing up into the diaphragm, and so pushing into the pleural lining of the lung. They may just APPEAR to be in the pleural area of the lungs. If tumor is in the lung area, it is much harder and riskier to remove because of the ribs, there is a high risk of spreading the cancer cells during removal, and it is more difficult to treat. The tumors would be addressed in a separate surgery from the abdominal surgery, if they are up there. (Zaida's Denver doc is not convinced the lungs are clear, by the way.) We truly hope that Dr. Hayes-Jordan is right!

If the tumors are pushing THROUGH the diaphragm, the surgeon can certainly remove them, let the hot chemo bath enter the lung area through there, and sew it up at the end.

Dr. Hayes-Jordan thinks the surgery will be 5 hours long. The last time she said that, it still took a dozen hours, so take that with a grain of salt!

The surgery will be much like before (we hope). Dr. Hayes-Jordan will remove all visible traces of cancer in Zaida's abdomen, looking everywhere, moving around organs and bowels to check. At the end, there will be HIPEC with cisplatin (this is the 90-minute heated chemo bath in Zaida's abdomen, then it will be drained out). They will place an intraperitoneal (IP) port (like she had a long time ago) and she will get paclitaxel (taxol) intraperitoneally on days 1-5 after surgery via the IP port. A schedule of future IP chemo will be determined. Zaida has had cisplatin before, she's had taxol before, and she's had them in an IP port before, but apparently this is the "new" standard of care for this kind of cancer, and it is supposed to be very good. Also, the surgeon will put seprafilm in Zaida's abdomen at the end, to reduce scar tissue, which is nothing but a source of problems.

So, the plan... We decided to give Zaida 2 cycles of her old chemo, irinotecan and temodar, before surgery, which is being scheduled for April 2nd (they may be able to tell if this chemo was working based on pathology of the tumors removed). (The vinorelbine will be in our "back pocket") We'll be at MD Anderson for an MRI on March 31st, admission to the hospital for surgery prep on April 1st, then surgery on April 2nd. They said to plan to be there for a month!

I think that sums it up!

9 people hearted this



alex hughes
By Alex Hughes
I'll look into making a road trip. It's a little more than 4 hours' drive. Would be cool if Linda could also come for a Kraut reunion.
alex hughes
By alex hughes
I need to make a road trip. It's only a little over 4 hours' drive. Would be cool if Cuzzin Linda could come for a Kraut reunion.
Judi Malmborg
By Judi McDougall Malmborg & John Malmborg, St. Peter
We pray that everything they have to do be successful!
dawn starkey
Praying now for success and help with nervousness leading up to the surgery.
Dorothy Keller
By Dorothy Keller
You are in my thoughts and prayers. What a brave little girl. Hope you get some good news soon.
Pam Derner
By Pam Derner
Prayers to Zaida and her family
lisa bicknell
By lisa bicknell
Sending you all many prayers and positive thoughts.
Sherrill Jones
By Sherrill Jones
Keeping good thoughts and abundant prayers for her complete healing as well as strength and comfort to all of you.
Stacey Gregg
By Stacey Gregg
((Hugs)) Thank you for the update!
Sending energy and strength for the coming months of surgery and chemo. Sounds like MD Anderson knows what she needs and is the place to be. Hope Zaida has a good energy level and is able to enjoy some special events, so as to distract from upcoming procedures.
Althea Leonard
By Althea Leonard
Glad to hear the news was better than expected!!

Thinking about you.