Natalie Cubbler

Natalie was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital on Saturday Dec.13th. She had extreme pain and her eye had swollen completely shut. We had previously been to the doctor the two days prior and were told by both doctors that she only had a case of pink eye and were prescribed eye drops. Upon arriving at the ER on that Saturday Natalie's behavior was obviously different, even the nurses who had never met her could see that. She had no energy and was lethargic. They responded immediately with blood work, an ultra sound to check her intestines, and finally a CT scan. After waiting hours for all of the results we were finally informed that the CT scan had discovered a small mass in Natalie's back right eye. From the time Natalie was about seven months old we would periodically see a white glare in her right eye. We were not that concerned with it and neither was her pediatrician who usually saw nothing. After the results of the CT scan we were told that we would be transferred to the downtown location of Texas Childrens Hospital here in Houston TX. When Natalie arrived they started her on pain meds right away as her eye was still swollen shut and were told that they were going to do am MRI first thing in the morning. While waiting for Natalie, Diandra and I were found by Dr. Gumbos who explained himself as an ophthalmologist oncologist from MD Anderson who had come to look at Natalie's MRI. He informed Diandra and I that with his prior experiences and knowledge what appeared to be in Natalies eye is a small tumor from a disease called retinoblastoma. Its a rare eye cancer that is caused from mutated cells and usually starts to develop in the womb. Dr. Gumbo also let us know that Natalie was in a very far advanced stage and that her eye was most likely unsalvageable. He did however tell us that he could not get a visual exam of her eye because the swelling was preventing him from doing so. He prescribed 3 oral medications, 2 being steroids for the swelling and 1 an antibiotic to prevent infection. She was also given 3 different kinds of eye drops that need to be applied several times daily also to help the swelling go down so that on Friday Dec.19th he could do a proper eye exam. After a week of her medication the swelling was practically gone. Natalie was put to sleep on Friday to finally do her physical eye exam. Retinoblastoma is rated by a letter system from A being the best and E being the worst. The front of Natalie's eye was completely filled with blood which Dr. Gumbos said automatically makes her case in stage E confirming her appointment next Friday Dec. 26th for the removal of her eye. Diandra and I were devastated to hear this news was official and that our daughter would be losing her eye. We feel that we could have somehow avoided this earlier but also know that everything happens for a reason and in Gods timing. Months ago we moved here to Houston and now know why God had sent us here. We do not know how much all of this will cost but know that God will provide. We do ask for as much prayer as possible knowing that it is more powerful in numbers. We thank everyone who has already helped us and for anyone that will help us in the future. We know that Natalie will go on to live a very fulfilling life and will adjust to this change in her life. Often times it is harder on the parents than it is the children and again just ask for prayer for all three of us as these are very trying times.

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Nick Cubbler 
Alief, TX
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