In early November 2017 Gabriella, my 13 year-old daughter, noticed a small bump under her left jaw, and it felt like a swollen lymph node. I brought her to an Urgent Care Center on Sunday, November 5th, where she was treated for an infection with amoxicillin and prednisone. When the bump did not reduce in size after another week, I brought her to her pediatrician, who referred Gabriella to a pediatric ENT. On December 6th an ENT at St. Louis Children's Hospital ordered an ultrasound which was inconclusive. She then ordered a biopsy which was done on December 14th. The biopsy results were NUT midline carcinoma, a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, in her submandibular salivary gland. Due to the rapid growth of the tumor, Gabriella underwent surgery at Children's Hospital. Her surgeon is the Division Chief, Head & Neck Oncologic Surgery at Washington University. He performed a neck resection with excision of the left salivary gland and tumor on December 28th, 2017. She was admitted for two nights. The margins were clear and it did not spread. Due to the aggressiveness and low percentage of survival rates of NUT, however an MRI, MRI with contrast and PET scan were ordered. Those were performed and all results were negative.
The next steps are radiation and chemotherapy. These two working in conjunction with one another gives the best survival rates. We are still waiting on the road map of treatment, however treatment is going to start as soon as possible. She is being treated at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children's Hospital by the radiology and oncology team. We believe her treatment will last between 8-9 months. Her radiation will probably be 33 sessions 5 days per week. She will also be admitted for 3-5 days for each chemotherapy session as they monitor children very closely.
Due to the extensive treatment needed we are asking for financial support to help us with Gabriella's medical expenses. Gabriella has needed full time parental care since being diagnosed. As her mother, I am now her full time caretaker and am unable to work. We appreciate any and all support from friends near and far. She will beat this!
- Meghan Gaskin
- Kathy Gillig
- Thomas Polcyn
- Mano Patri
Michelle Mitra Heidorn