** NO RESULTS FROM HER TESTS YET! MAYBE MONDAY OR TUESDAY**
Today, April 19th, marks exactly one year since we discovered the tumor growing inside our little Hazelnut's body. Hazel and I spent this morning last year in a pediatrician's office, desperate for answers. Hazel had been complaining of pain, had not been eating or drinking for several days, had spiked a relentless fever, had vomited and was falling asleep every few minutes. God kept moving in me to trust my "Mommy Instincts" and not allow this matter to rest. I remember, with tear-filled eyes, expressing to the doctor that I thought this may be cancer. To this day, I don't know why that thought even entered my mind, given our complete lack of experience in the world of cancer; but in my heart of hearts, that was my deepest fear for my little girl who had just turned two years old.
|A few weeks before diagnosis|
|Laying on the gurney in the ER|
|She was so tired...|
When the radiologist and physician's assistant discussed the results, they informed us that there was a solid mass, the size of a lime (we found out later that it was in fact much, much bigger than a lime) growing inside her abdomen, but could not tell us anything else about it. Aaron and I were extremely overwhelmed and begged God for the tumor to be benign. I remember my body went into shock and everything became such a blur. Then they called Children's Hospital, reserved our space and prepared us for transport. We waited on that gurney for about four agonizing hours. At this point, Hazel's fever was finally down and was much more hydrated, so the ambulance ride was actually great! She was constantly singing songs, waving to Daddy (who was following behind us in the car), and talking to the EMT's, who she referred to as Doctors :) Leave it to a two-year-old precious little girl to take away the mental torment.
Once in the ER at Children's Hospital, it was another waiting game. We arrived sometime around 7pm, which is when we met several nurses and doctors. They told us they were going to review the scans to determine if they agree with the results or if they should run their own Ultrasound as well. More blood was drawn, and more IV fluids were given. Our family all traveled down to the hospital to be by our side, cry with and support us. Hours later, the Doctors came in to inform us that they agreed with the results: There is a mass inside her abdomen and there are two things they are most concerned about; a Wilm's tumor, or a Neuroblastoma. They said we would be admitted upstairs to the oncology unit for more tests, specifically a CT scan. This was almost 1:00 in the morning. It took several scans, tests, and a biopsy for it to be confirmed that Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 3, High-Risk Neuroblastoma.
At the time, having this all happen over the course of a single day seemed tremendously unfair. However, in hindsight and with a year of experience under my belt, I realize we were unbelievably blessed by our Father to have it happen in this way. Most families struggle for weeks or months to find a diagnosis, and by the time the Neuroblastoma is discovered, it has already spread throughout the body and is diagnosed at Stage 4. I wholeheartedly believe that because God lead me to find answers, we were able to find her cancer soon enough that it did not spread and we could receive a Stage 3 diagnosis. Had we waited even just a week more, it could have been a very different story. I now know the kind of aggressive beast that Neuroblastoma is, so I am tremendously thankful we caught it when we did.