Apr 22, 2008 Latest post:
May 22, 2019
Update 7/20/18: Although Emma remains cancer free, her treatments have affected her greatly. Due to the radiation and chemotherapy, Emma now has pulmonary fibrosis. Since she was diagnosed in 2015, Emma's lung function has decreased significantly to the point where she now needs more and more medical intervention. She uses oxygen, a pneumatic vest, and a nebulizer regularly in addition to her medications.She is also beginning to need a wheelchair when we have to walk a long way. Although these things help with symptoms, they do not solve the problem so we are now at a point where we have to consider a lung transplant. We went to Children's' Hospital of Philadelphia for an evaluation but they said she is not a candidate for lung transplant due to the rigidity in her chest wall. So now, we are trying several different things to help with that rigidity including massage, chiropractic therapy, and physical therapy. We are hopeful these things will help. Our next step is to go to St. Louis Children's Hospital for another lung transplant evaluation. In the meantime, we try to make sure has as many great experiences as possible, especially time with her wonderful group of friends. We greatly appreciate all of you and your love and support.
Emma is a happy and sweet 8 year old. She was diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor (Stage IV unfavorable histology) on January 28, 2008. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor and left kidney, 10 rounds of chemo, and 8 days of radiation. Treatment finished November 20, 2008. Her most recent scans (May, 2012) show no evidence of disease. :)
On January 27, 2008, Emma (4) was playing with her brother, Garrett (7), and hit her stomach. She complained of pain and was vomiting. The next day when she was still not well, we decided to take her to Patient First. We were concerned that she had some internal bleeding from the hit to her stomach. The doctor seemed to have the same concern and sent us to the emergency room at MRMC where they did a CT scan. The doctor came to us and said Emma had a mass on her kidney. They sent us by ambulance to MCV where they did tests, read the results from the CT scan, and did an ultrasound. That evening, an oncologist, Dr. Godder, came to us and told us that they believed that Emma had Wilms Tumor. Emma was admitted to the hospital. Another CT scan the next day showed that Emma had spots on her lungs in addition to the tumor on her kidney. As the week went on, Emma had increasing pain from the tumor and that Thursday, January 31st, she had surgery to remove the tumor and her entire left kidney. The spots on her lungs were too small to be removed. The next week, we were told Emma's complete diagnosis...Stage IV Wilm's Tumor with unfavorable histology. We were told that Emma would have 30 weeks (10 rounds) of chemotherapy and eight days of radiation. That Thursday, she went through another short surgery to place her central line, called a Hickman, which would be used for giving chemotherapy, taking blood, and giving other medicines. Since then Emma has undergone eight radiation treatments to her lungs and abdomen, three rounds of chemotherapy, and several hospital admissions for fever and infection.
Over the last few months, we have learned many things. Most of what we have learned has been things that we never thought we would have to know...names of chemotherapy drugs, how radiation could affect a little one's body over time, what happens when a small child has no immune system to rely on, and how to give IV medicines at home, among many other things.
However, we have also learned how strong and brave our little Emma can be. And we have learned how wonderful our family, friends, and community are. Thank you to everyone for your continuing generosity, kindness, thoughts, and prayers!