When you think about starting a family and having sweet babies of your own, you never think about what sicknesses they could have or the tough stuff that could come with being parents. All you think about is how perfect they are going to be, who they are going to look like and the person they are going to grow up to be. It's so fun daydreaming and planning for one of the most exciting times of your life. One thing you will never be prepared for though, is your doctors telling you your perfect 4 month old has cancer.
They had noticed Molly's stomach was getting more swollen and hard. The day after celebrating Thanksgiving, they decided to take her to the ER to make sure everything was ok. After a CT scan they found a softball size tumor on her kidney and liver and sent them straight to Vanderbilt. She was admitted and had further testing. A brain MRI, MIBG scan, bone marrow biopsy and tumor biopsy. They were devastated to find out that the cancer had spread to her skull, bone marrow and liver. They immediately started chemo because the cancer was so aggressive. The tumor biopsy showed that it was NMYC amplified which put her at high risk.
Stage 4 Neuroblastoma was Molly's diagnosis.
Her treatment plan will last 12-15 months. She just finished her 5th round of chemo, will have her surgery to remove the main tumor, 2 stem cell transplants (each one will be 4-6 weeks hospital stay), radiation and immunotherapy. It's just too hard to grasp that a baby has to go through all this but we hold on to the positives. Her tumor has shrunk to the size of a golf ball and her body is responding well to treatment. She also gets a new trial drug at the end of treatment that studies have shown it has 88% success rate in keeping the cancer away.
The hard part about this is, that this wasn't their families first time dealing with cancer. Molly's mother, Chelsea lost her brother to Leukemia when he was only 15 years old. He had been treated at Vanderbilt with some of the same Doctors and nurses they were about to see again. Having never stepped foot at Vanderbilt since the passing of her brother, they had to overcome so many memories and feelings that they never thought they would have to live through again. I watched Chelsea and her mother be so strong in the hospital. A place that brought one of the darkest times, Chelsea's mother is overcoming her fears to be there for her daughter and do anything she can for them.
One of the hardest parts about this is their family has been separated for months and will continue to be until Molly finishes treatment. How does their 3 year old cope with all of this? The most they have spent away from him was maybe 5 days before Molly's sickness now they have spent 42 nights away from him. It makes an impact on the whole family with some being too young to understand. It hurts to see these families going through this cancer life. Molly has a ways to go but I am confident they are going to get through this and they will be one, happy family again!