almost 2 year old daughter has melanoma and needs your prayers...
Thank you all for your continued support. She's tough and fighting it with a strength that is incredible for someone her age. BTW, she's now officially 2 years old.
Update: 11/25/08. Yesterday/Monday we took her to the hospital for a check up. Had ultra sounds done on the areas where they removed the lymph nodes and a chest x-ray. Thank God nothing was present. All tests came out clean and we're moving forward to enjoy our Thanksgiving Holidays. One thing we've taught Alessandra to do was pray. She enjoys it and now is old enough to join in and even ask us to pray with her. She looks like a little angel when praying, putting her hands together and bowing her little head while we all pray together. Thank you all for your continued prayers. Keep my little daughter in your prayers, positive thoughts, etc. it's working. She's a very strong little girl and is making it through all the shots and scans and pokes of her little body. No child should ever have to go through this but if they do they should with a loving family and as many prayers as possible. Thank you all for doing your part in helping us with this fight. Again, no matter your religion thank you in advance for your prayers. I have word that people all over the planet are praying for my little girl. Hundreds of churches of all religions and literally thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of people in many different countries are praying. Thanks again!
Update: 12/17/08. Last Saturday we had to take the little one into the emergency room. She had something swelling bad where the scar is from her last surgery. They did an ultra sound and found fluid and also some mass. Thursday/tomorrow we're schedule for her third operation. They want to go in and remove this immediately. They will run tests and determine if it's a reoccurance of her cancer or just the way that area healed. I'm praying that it's not cancer and that it just healed weird and caused the swelling. Thanks again everyone for your continued support.
Update: 12/28/08. The operation was good and she was out the same day. The results came back and it was more cancer. Not good. Over the holiday weekend we noticed another lump swelling on her back. It's most likely more cancer. On Monday we go in for entire body scans CT and PET. I'm praying and hoping to God that this is only isolated in those areas and once removed it's over with and that it's not in a major organ. Just thinking about it is the most painful thing I've ever experienced. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. She needs that more than anything right now. We'll most likely be scheduling another operation to go in and remove the new lump from her back this week. Will make it her 5th operation within a 12 month period. All I can say is I wish it was me.
Update: 01/02/09. The CT came back clean but the PET found another tumor in addition to the one we visually detected. Doctors ordered an Ultrasound which initially confused me. I figured why an Ultrasound when we already did a CT and PET? Well, i'm glad we did. We noticed that the lump that was visually detected was actually two very close together. The Ultrasound gave everyone a more clear picture. I'm learning a lot more about this disease and will one day try to setup a website to help others. There is a lot of knowledge that i've gained that I haven't read about on any other website and all the sites basically tell you the same stuff over and over. It's good info but it's not good for when you're already in the fight. You need a new set of rules and data when battling this monster and maybe one day i can put it up to help others...one day after my daughter is done fighting and maybe she can even help me. Meanwhile, I sit at the hospital for the operation. They were initially going to go in to do "clean up" from the previous operation and remove the three additional tumors found. I spoke to the surgeon and told him I wanted to do more. I wanted to remove more of the "left over" lymph "channels" to avoid a reoccurance. I let him know that the disease is betting more aggressive and I wanted to do the same. He immediately called in the plastic surgeon that he had on standby and jumped right on the idea after consulting with another oncologist. She's now in there and it might be another 4-5 hours before she's done. No matter how many times I've been through this with her, I can never avoid crying when they take her from my arms and into the operating room. I just sit and wait now and pray all is going well and that this might be the last operation she'll ever have to endure. One thing I know for sure, this family will be unstoppable when we win this fight because the strength gained from this battle is not going to be taken for granted.
Now...i've gotten a lot of PM's offering help from users that have gone through cancer, from doctors that use the forum, from users who knew someone with cancer and even those just extending their best wishes but i was never really too sure what kind of help I could get for my daughter but now I know one thing that can help us greatly. Please continue your prayers...Muslim, Christian, Islam, whatever....please pray for Alessandra. Second, I know that best way to fight this is early detection so I ask the doctors and people that have been through this and those that know anything....help me by letting me know of any cutting edge medical scanning technology, etc. The CT and PET and Ultrasound are all great tools. There are also the 3D and even 4D Ultrasounds. I want to hear from you guys because I'm about to set appointments to get her entire body scanned with an Ultrasound. I know this will only catch stuff close to the surface and doesn't work well detecting tumors deep in her body, if i am understanding all of this correctly and please note that I haven't had much time to research it fully yet. For anyone out there that knows anything about this stuff, I have the following questions:
- Is there anything more advanced and higher resolution than an Ultrasound? From talking to the doctors it seems the Ultrasound can detect smaller "objects" than a CT or PET would be able to and it seems like the Ultrasound had a more "clear" view of the items. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
- Are there any other technologies that can be used to scan for cancer instances that a PET/CT/Ultrasound might miss?
- Has anyone heard of any other ways of detecting melanoma cancer once it's in the lymph nodes and even in the body once it gets past the lymph nodes? Other than scanning with the PET/CT/Ultrasound and waiting for a tumor to be large enough to show up?
- Any chemical detection methods available? I read that some cancer produces certain protein markers that can be detected very early via blood tests. Does anyone know of something similar for melanoma?
- The Interferon treatments she's undergoing might or might not be working. Has anyone heard of any available treatment for someone her age when Interferon doesn't work for melanoma cancer? I heard the Mayo clinic has alternate treatments but when I called the doctor wouldn't talk to me and insisted I go see them. All I wanted to know were questions to plan my trip accordingly like: Can it be administered with Interferon? If not, how long after the Interferon treatment finishes can the alternate treatment begin? What are some side effects, if any, of the alternate treatment? How long would the alternate treatment last for? All of these questions were so I knew what to expect, how to plan for it and how long we would be undergoing treatment. What really pissed me off is that the doctor wouldn't even answer questions through her assistant. Pretty damn petty and business like when a little girl's life might be at risk here. I know there might be protocol but hell, sometimes protocol needs to be circumvented when it's petty and someone's life is at risk...give me a ****ing break.
So if anyone has any knowledge they would like to share please do so in reply within the thread. Your response might help someone else that hasn't had time to post something like this or prefers to be more private than I'm being.
Thank you all again for your support and for any help you may give here for my daughter and for anyone else going through this.
Update: 04.20.09. The fight against the cancer continues. My daughter is hanging in there. She currently has three-four tumors. One was removed this week for a special trial that we've enrolled her in. She's undergone Interferon and Interlukin-2 treatments. I feel that the Interlukin-2 had an effect on the cancer and we're going to revisit it but right now it's time for more aggressive treatments. A friend of the family has put up a website that's not 100% done. I see AstainHellBring posted it and I thank him for that. I'm going to post more details there and what we've gone through. I hope this new site not only helps my family but also other families going through the same thing. There is so much miscommunication and things they dont' tell you that I want to communicate, it's crazy. Things that you need to prepare for but either they are affraid to tell you or they just don't know. Thank you all for your continued support for my daughter. I'll post more info later.
Can't post updates here...message too long so posting to the end of the thread again.