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Zaida’s Story

Zaida (ZAY-da) turned 3 in September 2007. We learned she has cancer on October 31st. After eight very emotional 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.

Zaida has been a cancer patient for almost 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.

She has just finished up 2 years of post-radiation chemo, and her doctors agree that she should go off-treatment.  She'll get blood work and scans regularly, but for now - NO CHEMO!

Zaida has a wonderful sister Runa (age 12) and they love to play (and fight) together.  Runa is such a wonderful and supportive sister!  

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

We'll Deal With It

Yesterday, Zaida had her routine MRI and blood work in Denver.  The initial report was that everything looked great.  A couple areas on the liver (artifacts) were gone and all was well.  I wish I had more good news.  Dr. Clark called me today with bad news.  There is a small (suspected) lesion on top of the liver (not *in* the liver), under a rib.  It is 14.7 mm by 9.4 mm - pretty small.  This combined with the CA-125 result of 41.3 is not a good sign.  The CA-125 has been below 30 for a couple years, and for it to pop up is not good.  It can come up for other reasons, like infection, irritation in the abdomen, or any other growth in the abdomen.  Another blood test will be done next week to be sure, but Dr. Clark is very concerned.

They did not do an MRI of Zaida's chest, as we always do, because the insurance company had just denied coverage for that.   The doctor has assured us she will get it covered.  So, the plan right now is to do a CT scan of her chest, an MRI of her head, and a re-do of the CA-125 next week.  Before anyone panics, the scans are mostly precautionary.  We don't expect any problems in the chest or lung area, but there has been a spot on one lung for many years that seemed like scar tissue, and never changes.  The scan of her chest is mainly to monitor that.  Now, the reason for the brain scan is that Zaida is prone to the occasional migraine (with vomiting and severe pain) every month or two, and a rare ordinary headache.  The doctor does not suspect any tumors in the brain as her headaches do not present the way a brain tumor would, and migraines run in families.  I get them sometimes and my mom get them sometimes (not sure if anyone else in the family gets them?).  I know what a migraine is and I'm pretty sure Zaida got very unlucky with the roll of the migraine dice.  We are just being thorough with the brain scan!

Depending on these tests next week, Interventional Radiology might do a needle biopsy of the spot.  Then we would know for sure what we are dealing with.  Either way, Dr. Clark is going to consult with Zaida's previous MD Anderson doctor, Dr. Anderson (who has moved elsewhere), and with her current MD Anderson doctor (and possibly her MD Anderson surgeon).

The good news is there is no ascites (fluid in the abdomen created by cancer tumors) and the spot is small.  If you've been with us on this journey for a while, you might remember the last time Zaida relapsed in early 2012.  At that time, her CA-125 popped up to 51 and she had a small pocket of fluid build-up behind her stomach, a sample of which showed an (unexplainable) infection of bacteria and yeast, and a few other abdominal fluid biopsies showed a small number of cancer cells.  Chemo, surgery, radiation, chemo, chemo, chemo...

We talked to the girls about it a bit.  We told them about the spot and additional scans and blood test, and that she may need surgery again, but we just don't know yet.  Zaida seemed concerned, but not really upset.  Runa didn't say much.  We try to keep it light.  We'll talk to them more later, I'm sure.

I spent all afternoon trying to process all this.  It is really scary and disheartening, and I am prone to imagine the worst.  I really feel like we don't know enough information yet, and so we don't have a complete plan, and not knowing is painful.  Bottom line - she probably has cancer again, but we are hoping is just a small relapse, if there is such a thing as "small relapse."  We may end up in Houston again for another 14 hour surgery, or we may not.  She may get a new treatment, or not.  Maybe the universe will spare us and this will turn out to be nothing.  Ultimately, we'll deal with it.

6 people hearted this



Danielle Letellier
By Danielle Letellier
Hoping that it is just a coincidence and it is not a relapse. Can't imagine the thoughts going through your head due to not knowing. You will all be in my thoughts!
dawn starkey
By dawn in co
Hoping for the most minor case scenario. I am so sorry for the scare though! Praying with you and hoping for the best.
Anita Larson Andres
By Anita Larson Andres — last edited
Your continued strength amazes me, Nicol. You have such a supportive medical team, family and friends - thoughts and prayers continuing for Zaida and for all of you.
alex hughes
By alex hughes
I'm hoping for positive results. Early detection! You are on top of it!
Michelle Booth
By Michelle Booth, MD
I am praying and will continue to do so. Zaida is such a warrior, but she (and you) deserve a break. I live in Dallas now. If you come to Houston- hopefully for just follow ups- maybe I can come see you. Would love to give you a hug.
Jan Olsen
By Jan Olsen
So sorry that the latest news is posing more challenges. Hopefully, it is something small that Zaida can fight. We will keep your family in our prayers.
Lisa M
By Lisa M
Sending prayers!
becky andrys
By Becky Andrys
Nicol you and zaida are in my thoughts and prayers. I truly can't imagine what you are going through your very strong
Teresa Saum
By Teresa Saum
Oh, my. Keeping you all in my heart, my prayers, my mind. Sending light and love, as always.
Sherrill Jones
By Sherrill Jones
Sending prayers of comfort, strength and healing your way. ♡ I think of you all often. Hope that this is just a small blip in the "big" picture.