Madeleine was diagnosed with stage III Neuroblastoma on February 29, 2008, leap day. (Thank goodness, because I don't need that day coming around again anytime soon). Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer. This blog was started in June to update friends and family of her progress. To read more about what it was like on the days surrounding her diagnosis, go here, and here.
On the day of diagnosis, Madeleine had an emergency surgery (laminectomy) to debulk the tumor in her spine and to hopefully regain movement in her legs. She recovered nicely and regained full-strength of both legs. She also had another surgery in June, a partial resection of the tumor in her abdomen. This surgery lasted for over seven hours. During surgery two of the nerves to her legs had to be cut and she lost strength and movement in her right leg. Madeleine is currently two-and-a-half and still has weakness in her right leg. We are hopeful that she will regain full strength in her leg, but are pretty sure that she will always have some weakness.
Madeleine has had eight rounds of chemotherapy, and this tumor is proving more difficult to get rid of than originally expected. The latest MRI showed that the tumor was still growing, unaffected by the last two rounds of stronger chemo that she received. This was absolutely heartbreaking to hear, but it caused us to start consulting with specialists in L.A. This became a very positive experience as we learned that her tumor, most likely, will continue to grow until it reaches maturity and then it will stop causing problems. The new doctor thought that the tumor was probably on its way to maturity.
In order to check on the pathology of the tumor, Madeleine had to have a third surgery, another laminectomy, in February of 2009. The surgery went as well as we could have hoped. The neurosurgeon was able to remove some of the tumor from her spinal column. As it now stands, (June 2010) she has tumor in her spine and some in her abdomen, but the tumor has now been stable for six months. Madeleine has frequent MRIs to make sure that the tumor is not growing.
Madeleine continues to be in good health (besides having cancer and all) and great spirits. She is one strong, brave and amazing little girl.
She will recover from this and be cancer free. It'll just take some more time.