On June 20, 2009, our daughter Madeline was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer called nephroblastoma or Wilms’ Tumor. Maddie was 2.5 years old. She was very sick when she arrived by ambulance at Upstate Medical University Hospital. The tumor that had begun in her left kidney had metastasized into her lungs, her spleen, and traveled extensively throughout her abdomen via her vascular system. The vast tentacles of tumors were cutting off Maddie’s circulation and threatening to take her life; the team of doctors assigned to care for her worked quickly to administer chemotherapy and other drugs to save her life.
After a full summer of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors enough to surgically remove them, it was determined that Maddie would go to Boston Children’s Hospital for her nephrectomy. The tumor, which had traveled up and down her Vena Cava, had found its way into her heart. A pediatric heart surgeon was needed to assist the general surgeon and vascular surgeon. On October 8, 2009, Maddie endured 11 hours of surgery which included icing her body down to stop all heart/body function so that the tumor could be safely removed from her heart. Unfortunately, Maddie’s one remaining kidney suffered acute renal failure and Maddie was rushed back into the OR the next morning for an emergency 9 hour surgery. We spent 33 days at Children’s Hospital Boston; Maddie was in the ICU for two weeks and received dialysis daily. All in all, she had a total of 24 hours of surgery while there. She came home to CNY and Upstate’s care in November on TPN nutrition as her digestive system was severely distressed.
In early December, she began 3 weeks of radiation ending with her last session on Christmas Eve. January 7, 2010, was the last day of chemotherapy for Maddie and despite many months of rehabilitation and questionable symptoms that indicated a possible relapse, she has been cancer-free ever since! Today, Maddie is a normal 4-yr old girl who loves sledding, playgrounds, dancing, Star Wars and everything Pink! She is signed up for T-ball this spring and will graduate Pre-K and move up to Kindergarten with her class – we are so proud of her! And every day we are thankful for the amazingly talented and wonderfully caring doctors and nurses at Upstate Medical University Hospital/Golisano’s Children’s Hospital.