Nov 20, 2017 Latest post:
May 20, 2018
At the end of October, our sweet Bridgette was diagnosed with a tumor in or near her pituitary gland following an MRI ordered by her pediatrician. She was quickly referred to one of the best pediatric neurosurgeons in California, if not the entire United States, Mark Krieger, M.D. at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Our meeting with Dr. Krieger revealed that the tumor was not only wreaking havoc with Bridgi's pituitary gland and hormones, but it was also encasing her carotid arteries and pressing on her optical nerve. Surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled for November 3rd. It was quite an experience for this 8 year old, and just as Dr. Krieger predicted, she didn't like anyone for several days following the surgery. Eventually, the packing in her nose/sinus cavity was removed and she slowly regained her strength. On November 7th she was discharged from the hospital and on November 8th we had a three hour meeting with Bridgi's amazing medical team, including Mark Krieger, M.D., (neurosurgeon), Nathan Robison, M.D. (pediatric neuro-oncologist), Clement Cheung, M.D., Ph.D. (pediatric endocrinologist), and many more. We name these doctors now so that you can keep them in your prayers as they treat our precious Bridgi.
The diagnostic tissue revealed that the tumor is classified as a GERMINOMA. A GERMINOMA is a type of germ cell tumor that is most commonly found in the brain. Usually, germ cells migrate to the gonads during fetal development and become an egg in the female ovaries or sperm in the male testes. However, if these germ cells don't migrate to the correct location, they can become trapped in the brain and multiply in areas where they shouldn't. This type of cancer carries a relatively excellent prognosis, with a cure rate in more than 90% of the cases.
Bridgi will undergo 4 cycles of chemo (3 days on; 3 weeks off; repeat) and then radiation. Most likely, she will lose her beautiful hair, but she already cut it and donated it to Locks of Love. For the most part, this precious 8 year old who loves Jesus with all her heart, has been a champion. Her Papa still can't believe that she has had 3 MRI's without having to hold anyone's hand. His one MRI was only accomplished after Grammie held his hand through the whole process!
There are a multitude of other problems because the tumor affected the pituitary gland, so Bridgi has to be on thyroid medications and hydrocortisone probably for life. Also she developed diabetes insipidus (which is completely different than diabetes types 1 or 2). This causes excessive thirst and urination and the kidneys don’t process the fluid to other areas of the body but just send the water out as clear, odorless urine. Without the water, Bridgi could become dehydrated very quickly (and that's a simplified explanation).
On 11/20/17 at approximately 10:30 am, Bridgi will undergo surgery to insert a port into her chest to receive the chemo treatments, and also have a lumbar/spinal tap (all under general anesthetic) to confirm the form of chemo treatment. After that, she will receive 8 hours of chemo, on 11/20, 4 hours on 11/21 and 4 hours on 11/22 if all goes well. She will be hospitalized so the doctors can manage her other medications, etc. She may not always require hospitalization for chemo treatments, but with the first one, they aren't taking any chances.
Last Spring, we planned a Mexican Riviera family cruise for 11/11-11/18. Only three days before the cruise did Bridgi's doctors release her to go on the cruise under very specific directions. She had a wonderful time! On the first formal night, Tuesday, she was surprised at the dinner table by Commodore Giuseppe Romano, and she knew exactly who he was! The Captain of all Captains! He asked her to come to the Bridge on Friday and help him steer the ship. What an experience!
We have been overwhelmed with all the love and support from our friends and family and found the need to centralize the information and updates because it's just too much to repeat over and over. Please sign up for Bridgi's Team to keep in touch, send messages, know the family's needs, etc., etc. Also for prayer requests.
Separate journal entries will be made with regard to specific prayer requests and updates. Some special things to note about this page:
(1) DONATIONS TO CARINGBRIDGE DO NOT CONSTITUTE DONATIONS TO THE CZARNECKI FAMILY. THAT INCLUDES TRIBUTE DONATIONS. We certainly appreciate the opportunity that CaringBridge offers to put together a page like this, but sometimes people are easily confused thinking they are donating to the family when, in fact, they are donating to Caring Bridge.
(2) See Journal Entry (11/20/17) for Need for Directed Blood Donations for Bridgi.
(3) See Journal Entry (11/20/17) for Meal Train information.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Mandie, Jeremy, Bridgette & Brielle and all of our extended families [Written by Grammie]