Our journey, in comparison to other families I know, was a very short one. On September 23, 2010, after 7 months of trying to find a doctor who would listen to my concerns, my daughter Emily went into the operating room so Dr. Strickland could look into her vagina and uterus to see what was causing her bleeding. She found a mass in her vagina and cervix that was malignant- it was clear cell carcinoma, which is very rare. After that day things seemed to be a blur. The doctors at Children's Mercy in Kansas City searched and searched for a doctor who would be able to give them guidance on what to do next. This is where Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation came into our lives. We needed to get to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Alex’s provided us assistance for Emily and I to get to NYC and see the specialist, so they could evaluate Emily and come up with a treatment plan.
Emily started chemotherapy on December 1, 2010. It was a type of chemo that they use in adult women, so they weren't even sure it would even work, but it did. After two rounds of chemo the tumor had shrunk by a third. After two more rounds of chemo it shrunk even more. We flew back to NYC in March for surgery. At the age of 8, Emily had a total hysterectomy. That was the only way to eliminate all of the cancer. After two weeks in the hospital we were able to go home. Emily recovered at home with all of us doting on her. She completed two more rounds of chemo and then ten days of intravaginal radiation at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. She is the youngest person they have ever given this type of treatment to. She did fantastic during radiation.
Emily has been off of treatment (chemo) for 36 months and goes in every six months for scans or x-rays to make sure the cancer hasn't come back somewhere else. She also has to have pap smears done to check for any cancer cells every 6 months – so far so good.
She is now going into the sixth grade and catching up to her peers with the help of some very special teachers. If you were to see her at the store or walking down the street you would never know she was touched by cancer, her hair has grown back and her scars are healed.
If it wasn't for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and other organizations that help families of kids with cancer, we would all be lost. Trying to get your kids the best treatment out there is our number one goal, but getting there can be hard part. You make it so much easier and take that stress away from us. Thank you so much.
Greg, Karen, Katy, Sara, Sam, and Emily