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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 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.  


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.

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

Finally heard from the doctor...

We've been quietly living our lives the past few weeks.  Quietly waiting to hear from the doctors about a plan for Zaida.  I can honestly say, it's been nice not hearing anything.   I could pretend everything was fine, forget all my troubles.  I don't have any more particularly bad news to report, but Dr. Clark called late this afternoon.

She had been working hard contacting MD Anderson, going back and forth.  She was right that they had been waiting until after some big tumor board, a meeting of some kind where I imagine they talk about cases and stuff (I really don't know exactly).  That is why it has taken so long to hear back.

Dr. Clark had sent Zaida's last few scans and labs.  MD Anderson is "very worried it's tumor."  Well, we kind of figured, anyway!  They, including the surgeon Dr. Hayes-Jordan, are recommending cryosurgery for the spot on Zaida's liver.  This is freezing it with a probe, or "frying" it, she said.  It is often used on external cancers, like skin cancer, but can also be used internally.  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/cryosurgery  She also mentioned radio waves, but I don't know what this means.  Cryo is less invasive, less risky, but then there would be no tumor tissue for  testing.  Maybe they are recommending this because there is no need to test it?  There aren't any more tests?  Dr. Clark doesn't like the idea of cryosurgery for Zaida because there would be no tumor to test and because they wouldn't be able to see if there are any other areas of tumor in her abdomen.  One of the problems is Zaida's cancer appears as tiny tumors throughout the abdomen, and start out too small for scans to detect, but they can be seen with the naked eye.  Cryosurgery would only target the one tumor on the liver.  So far, the signs indicate that the tumor load is very small, so there may only be the one spot, but it would take a surgeon's eyes to know for sure.

The surgeon does NOT want Interventional Radiology to use a needle biopsy because the risk of tracking it on the way out is too high.  She can get the tumor surgically and would have to remove a bit of liver, but she's concerned about another huge surgery.  I asked Dr. Clark about the problems with repeated surgeries.  Is 1 surgery so different from 5 surgeries, for example.  She said that there is not necessarily any more risk, but it all boils down to scar tissue.  Each surgery produces scar tissue, and the more scar tissue, the harder it is to deal with while removing tumor nodules.  I said that the surgeon (after Zaida's last surgery) was extremely surprised at how little scar tissue she had.  Dr. Clark said that a kid could have one surgery to remove an appendix, for example, and have lots of scar tissue.  Another kid could have 10 surgeries on his lungs and have almost no scar tissue.  There is no explanation; everyone is different.

Dr. Clark wants us to get labs done this weekend in Boulder and get in touch with MD Anderson next week.  Dr. Clark is going to send some emails and try to get a good contact person at MD Anderson.  Unfortunately, a wonderful PA there we've loved and worked with, is leaving (or has left) and we're not sure who to call.

The surgeon Dr. Hayes-Jordan would like us to go down to Houston to sit and talk about the options, then come back in a few weeks to do whatever it is we decide.  I said to Dr. Clark that we would love to do this in ONE trip!  She is going to push for that, as she knows how hard it is on us with all the traveling.

In case this wasn't enough to think and worry about, there is a BONUS!  We've just found out our insurance (with Eric's work) is changing to Anthem Blue Cross on March 1st.  Dr. Clark, Presbyterian St. Lukes, and MD Anderson are in-network, thankfully.  However, we still have questions (which will hopefully be answered next week).  For example, I have no idea what happens if Zaida is in-patient, recovering from surgery (or whatever) on February 28th, and then it's March 1st.  I know we're not the first to have this series of events, and it probably will work itself out, but I also know that insurance can be a huge headache.  We could choose to wait until after March 1st to do anything, but waiting (especially after waiting over a month already for answers) is not something I want to do!

As always, thanks to everyone for following our story and sending all your love and support.  It means the world to us!  Also, thanks for reading this far; I know this is a huge post!

8 people hearted this



sarah kleinhans
Thank you for the update. I hold my breath constantly for you guys and we will do anything you need, JUST ASK! We can Runa or anything. xoxoxox
Laura Mattson
By Grandma Laura Mattson
I am Happy that your insurance company has changed. But yes I would wait till After March 1. They are picky about starting dates to close to the insurance stat dates. Love you guys.
Michelle Booth
By Michelle Booth, MD
Nichol, please let me know what date you will be going to Houston. If possible, I would love to see you while you are there. You might be able to ge touch with the PA that left by contacting the patient advocate at MD Anderson or the surgeon you worked with. They could possibly pass along your contact info to the PA. I did part of my training at MD Anderson and would be happy to help with contacts in any way I could. My thoughts and prayers stay with you and Zaida.
dawn starkey
By dawn in co
Keeping Zaida and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry--praying for effective treatment and fast healing for your sweet girl!
Pam Derner
Will keep Zaida in my prayers. You guys have gone through so much. Hoping everything works out well. Prayers and hugs.
Jason Fritz
By Jason Fritz
Praying for you guys and Zaida.
Lisa Lindeman
By Lisa Lindeman
Our prayers will continue for you all. Such a plight to journey through. You are an amazing family with your strength. Your medical team WILL a find the best solution for Zaida. God Bless!
Sherrill Jones
By Sherrill Jones
Keeping good thought and abundant prayers flowing.