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My daughter Felicia is my hero. After being diagnosed with Stage 5 Wilms’ Tumor on December 10, 2007, Felicia's strength and courage gave me all the hope and stability I needed to continue on.
Looking back, I shouldn’t have worried about Felicia, a twin, she faced the possibility of death even before delivery. During my pregnancy, Felicia was deemed baby "B,” and I was told then she may not survive. When I did go into labor, Felicia was born full-term and healthy. We were so happy for our good fortune, only be disheartened again by doctors when at 3 years of age we received the news Felicia had kidney cancer. The cancer was in both kidneys, both lungs and on her liver, chemotherapy began immediately. It was through Felicia's spirit and determination she kept up with her twin Dean in all areas of development!
Felicia endured 8 months of 5 different chemotherapy drugs, 11 rounds of radiation, and 3 different central lines during treatment. She also endured blood transfusions, palates transfusions and several surgeries including the removal of her right kidney and part of her left kidney. Her treatment took place in isolation due to the highly contagious VRE virus she contracted during her stay in the hospital. Throughout isolation and her treatment, Felicia never stopped smiling and joking with her doctors, even in great pain and discomfort. She continually remained upbeat and she looked forward to every trip we made to our second home, The Alex Scott Day Hospital at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Felicia’s happiness and silly nature were infectious, watching Felicia battle so bravely without losing her smile, perky personality or her incredible energy is what got me through the unimaginable days. It was difficult to watch Felicia go from being a normal child enjoying her life, to that luxury being taken away overnight. Yet, through it all she continued to be positive, energetic and determined to have fun! Felicia's contagious smile made sure that everyone felt her presence, even as we were isolated from others.
I love my little hero Felicia and I give thanks everyday for her, her twin brother Dean and big sister, Angelina! I would never wish cancer onto any family, but I am so grateful today for all that cancer has taught me.
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