Clara had a slew of procedures and scans today. Thankfully, she was under general anesthesia during it all so she won't remember a thing. Because of the aggressive nature of the neuroblastoma, they started radiation today. These radiation treatments are targeted at cancer that is threatening her optical nerve. They feel that it went well and are going to follow up with 2 more treatments Thursday and Friday morning. Following the radiation they performed the MIBG. The doctor discussed the results of the scan with us this evening and confirmed what we were already expecting. The cancer has spread on the bones throughout her body. This explains the pain that she has been experiencing the past 3 weeks. They suspect it has only been the last month that this has all started.
They took her to the OR following the MIBG to get the bone marrow sample, insert the central line and get a biopsy of the large mass on her adrenal gland. The surgeon said that it all went well. They are unable to remove the full tumor because it is wrapped around so many vital parts, including blood vessels that feed the kidneys. The oncologist explained that this is a very aggressive cancer. Fortunately some fast growing cancers also disappear quickly with the right treatment.
They are just about finished creating the treatment program, but in all likelihood, Clara will receive 6 3-week cycles of chemotherapy, in addition to the concurrent radiation treatments that will probably last for 2 1/2 to 3 weeks. She will also need a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant, and possibly a second bone marrow transplant. After this first round of treatments, which they refer to as induction, she will start consolidation, wherein they attempt to get the cancer cells that are floating around in the body but that don't show up in scans. This is where the second bone marrow transplant comes in. She will likely lose her hair and experience months of nausea and discomfort, most of which can be controlled through medication. There will be times when we may be able to bring her home over the next 18 weeks, but we won't know for certain until she is well into the therapy.
This is all very overwhelming, but we feel a calm assurance that the Lord's hand is in this. We have faith that God has a plan for each of us and we hope that His will is for Clara to make it through this ordeal. We know that we cannot change God's will, and we pray for the strength and courage to accept it, whatever that may mean for Clara and our family. We are sincerely grateful for those who are sharing this experience with us, praying for our sweet daughter and her caretakers, and contributing in any way to alleviating the burdens that we feel. We hope that we are all able to learn from this trial and that we each become better people and better followers of Jesus Christ as he carries us through this time of sorrow and uncertainty.
"Hope . . . is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father.”
–President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
–President Dieter F. Uchtdorf