On May 9th, Amelia went to her regular 6-month checkup. Since she is pretty much all smiles and squeals and chubby cheeks, we asked about solid foods and sunscreen just to make the doctor feel useful. But, her pediatrician noticed an abnormal red reflex in her right eye, and sent us to an opthamologist in Pittsburgh the same day to check it out. The head of the department accompanied the evaluating physician back into the room after the exam. That's when we heard the words... tumor... calcification...
The next day we were on our way to the Cleveland Clinic to meet with an eye cancer expert. The following morning, Amelia was evaluated under anasthesia and we were told that our daughter has Stage D Retinoblastoma. The tumor is isolated, but breaking into little "seeds" that are spreading throughout her eye. She would need (at least) two types of chemotherapy to save her life and hopefully her eye.
Thankfully, we learned her cancer has a high rate of survival (~97%), and Amelia will be treated by world-expert doctors. Treatment is quite advanced, and the hope is - if she is not too small - that chemotherapy can be delivered with minimal exposure beyond her eye and, therefore, minimal side effects. We will know after her first treatment/attempt (the goal is to deliver the chemo interarterially) if this can be accomplished given her size.
Thankfully, since Wednesday, Amelia is as sweet and happy and playful as ever, and she is keeping us focused on the good stuff, and on hope.
We will travel to Cleveland monthly for 2-3 days for treatments, assuming all goes as we hope. The oncologist we met with said he "expects" Amelia to grow up and be happy and healthy and cancer free. We are going to do our part on the happy and healthy, and hold her doctors to theirs. In the meantime, we are going to try like hell to keep our spirits up, keep ourselves well, and keep the squeals a comin'.
We have received so much love and support already, and everyone asks us what they can do. We wanted to create a way for you to stay informed about how Amelia is doing, and to channel your generosity and kindness in ways we'd appreciate.
So, here you go...
(Calendar to come once we know what we need and when, but feel free to check here for an update following Amelia's first treatment on 5/18).
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