1. What type of cancer does Izzy have and when was she diagnosed?
Rhabdomyosarcoma; diagnosed in November 2009.
2. What led you to take her in to the doctor initially? Was she feeling bad in any way such as...fever, nasua, etc?
We noticed a hard egg-sized lump on her lower left leg while Corey, my husband, was wrestling around with her. She complained of absolutely nothing ~ no fever, no pain, no nausea....nothing.
3. Can you describe your and your husband’s reaction when you learned the diagnosis - how did you immediately respond?
We were absolutely shocked and terribly devastated to learn that she had a very fast-growing malignant tumor that was very rare. I immediately fell to the ground crying and asking the Lord to please heal her. We knew from the beginning that she could possibly die from this, but we also knew that it could be treated with chemo and radiation if we had caught it early enough.
4. Where is she being treated and can you give us an idea of her daily/weekly routine?
She is being treated at Ruby Memorial Childrens Hospital once a week with chemo (Vincristine, Dactinomycin, and Cyclophosphamide with Mesna) and she also had radiation treatments everyday for 5 1/2 weeks in February and March at Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown, WV.
5. How has Izzy handled all this? How does she cope with all the doctors, radiologists, nurse, etc..?
Izzy is a trooper and is amazingly tolerant of treatments, Doctors, medicine, etc. She was the first 2 yr old at this cancer center to ever receive radiation without sedation. She has formed special bonds with the radiation team workers, infusion nurses, and her oncologists. She has also formed many friendships with other children diagnosed with cancer.
6. I know you’ve told me time and again that you have felt God’s presence with you, sustaining you. Can you elaborate on this? In what ways has God manifested His love and mercy to you and your family?
The Lord has shown us his presence in many ways ~ we were blessed to have such good doctors who sing to Izzy and actually bring her gifts while not on the clock to make her feel as special as possible.
The whole community has taken time to pray for a baby they don't even know ~ That's God! We knew this cancer was fast spreading and very rare ~ after many exams ~ the tumor had no spreading whatsoever ~ POWER OF PRAYER. After being told that Izzy had cancer, we had several employees to secretly ask us if they could put her on a prayer chain.
While sitting in the waiting room alone, there was a man beside me that asked why I was there. After telling him the story, he asked if he and his wife could have prayer right then. Afterwards, he informed me that he was a pastor at a church in Beckley and he was going to add Izzy to the prayer list at his church. It's easy to cry and feel sorry for yourself, but my God has given us tremendous strength and faith to never ask why this disease was put upon my child. He has told us that Izabella is safe in his hands and that we must follow his path.
7. Have any charitable organizations helped Izzy and your family and, in what way?
The Fayetteville Junior Woman's Club, New River Woman's Club, The Shag Club, several gracious churches, individuals and Timmy's Fund which gives a gift package which includes money, gift cards, etc. to every pediatric cancer patient every time they receive chemo at Ruby Memorial.
8. What words of advice do you have for parents whose child has just been diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma?
I would plainly tell them that "rhabdo" is curable and children are very resilient. But don't be afraid of it or let it get the best of you ~ fight it with God on your side.
Just to add a few updated tidbits:
If you are so inclined, we welcome you to join Izzy's Facebook page where you can read her story, leave a message and receive updates.
Thanks to Calabria Salon, a hat-drive for Izzy is underway for the month of May! This event was recently covered by our local news station, WOAY in West Virginia. This was such a beautiful gesture on the part of many kind-hearted individuals. As Izzy now faces losing her hair from the chemo, it sure brings a smile to her face to see the new hats and play wigs she can try on =-)