The primary mass is in her adrenal gland. It has spread to her skull but is not in her brain, just the bone, (small blessing). She has 'free floating' cancer cells in her bone marrow and several other small tumours, on one of her legs and her shoulder blade, all of which is typical for this type of cancer. She has begun chemotherapy at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia.
Once the tumours have shrunk, there will most likely be surgery to remove what's left of the tumour on her adrenal gland. This will be followed by radiotherapy and more intensive chemo to knock down any remaining cancer cells, then a bone marrow transplant to save her from the damage done by the treatment. Finally she will have some antibody therapy that will help her immune system kick it for good.
The current plan takes at least 12 months as some setbacks are likely.
Here in Brisbane, she has access to the very best and latest treatment anywhere in the world. Dr Tim is amazing and believes we have a better than even odds of beating this.
We are so grateful that we live in Australia, a country where free hospital and cancer treatment is available to those who need it and that care is excellent.
We live in Toowoomba which is one and a half hours drive to The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital where she is being treated. It is a must that we stay close to the hospital for appointments in between hospital stays and in the case of an emergency, they are just around the corner. The Childhood Cancer Support charity has supplied a unit for us to call home for the duration of her illness. For this we are most grateful.
Erika's dad, Jason, remains in Toowoomba for work Monday to Friday and comes for visits for the weekends. Grandparents fill in during the week to ensure mum and Erika are always well supported.
When more intense treatment and surgery begins, Erika's dad will want to be in Brisbane not only for himself but for support for mum, Nicole, and bub during these more harrowing stages. Lost wages during these periods will put a lot of pressure on finances.
The extra and hidden costs will also add up over time. These include petrol, parking, extra car maintenance, meals and medication and medical requirements while not in hospitals. It would be good to be able to buy Erika specific toys and items that are suitable for her for times when we need to distract her and for times when she is confined to her cot or room.
During this very difficult time, the added pressure of financial instability is stressful for everyone concerned so to be able to reduce that stress will be of great benefit for all, but especially for little Erika as little ones pick up on how their parents are coping and she has enough to deal with as it is.
Please consider even the smallest donation as it is all much appreciated and adds up to significantly help us out. Once this battle is over, any moneys left over will be split between those charities that have helped us - The Children's Hospital Foundation , Childhood Cancer Support , The Starlight Foundation , Ronald McDonald House (who supplied emergency accommodation early on) and Neuroblastoma Australia (who do research to give other kids the best outcomes possible.)
No one would wish cancer on anyone else but for a baby, it is quite simply heartbreaking. But this is our reality now and we must continue on as best we can for her, our Erika May.
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