Mommy and daddy have always called me their miracle baby. Born in January 2007, I was a good baby from the beginning. Who knew that my sweet and silly personality would serve a much bigger purpose at the ripe age of 3.
A few weeks after my third birthday in 2010 (just after my brother Grant was born), I started complaining of a tummy ache. It would come and go, so mommy and daddy didn't worry too much about it. But then it hurt so badly it made me cry. And then came the fever that wouldn't go away even with medicine. During my second trip to the doctor, she could actually feel a mass in my abdomen, and my bloodwork showed an extremely high white cell count. My body was fighting something big. It could be my appendix or "the 'C' word", as the doctor put it. Mommy had to ask what "the 'C' word" meant. Cancer. Mommy thought there was no way in the world this was cancer.
We headed downtown for further testing to Texas Children's Hospital, as we would soon find out, one of THE BEST hospitals in the country. An ultrasound and CT scan revealed a large mass, approximately the size of a softball, living in my abdomen. Unfortunately it had spread its ugly cells into my lungs as well. We weren't going home any time soon.
Long story short, I was there for 10 days, most of which was filled with more testing and surgery to implant my port. At the end of the 10 days, we had a diagnosis - Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma. A very rare tumor, with an approximate 70% cure rate. I was told it was the "good kind" of Rhabdo, and my age and tumor location were in my favor. I also received my first chemo treatment before leaving the hospital.
The next 12 months consisted of weekly chemo treatments, a 10 hour surgery to remove the tumor, and nearly 30 rounds of radiation on my abdomen and my lungs. I am a living breathing miracle.
We thank God all the time for putting the fight in me and using me to teach my family and friends some really great things about living life. And we thank God for the miracle workers in the Texas Children's Cancer Center - doctors, nurses, and child life specialists. THIS is why we created The Laurel's Army Foundation. To help others fight and to support the amazing work done at TCCC.