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Lauren's Cancer Fighting Squad

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The 2016/2017 school year ended as any other school year to date for kids. That started to change  in July 2017. Our 11-year-old daughter, Lauren, began complaining of pain in her stomach and back.  Originally we thought she may have constipation and stomach virus.   After a week we noticed her appetite began to steadily decreased and the other symptoms did not improve. We took her into her pediatricians office to have a check up. 

The nurse practitioner (NP) felt her abdomen and back but did not notice anything alarming. She ordered an x-ray and thought it was probably constipation.  We took her downstairs for the x-ray that day and received a call that night asking if she had anything on her outfit that might cause a reflection on the image.  Along with some constipation something was reflecting on the image. She did not have anything special on that would cause the reflection.  The NP was not  concerned but did order an ultrasound of the abdomen. She said they would send a script for the order via mail.

Once we received the script we set up an appointment at Hurley medical center in Flint, Michigan.   Following the ultrasound the radiologist spoke with Kathy and recommended a CT scan of  her abdomen be done that day. Once the authorizations were complete the CT scan was performed. I asked if we needed to stay and was told  to simply go home. 

Lauren and I were only gone for about 20 minutes before receiving a call that we needed to return to her Hurley and be admitted through the ER department. Ten minutes later on the return drive I received a call from our pediatrician.  She began by telling me they had seen a mass in her abdomen and it appeared to be neuroblastoma.   I held it together as best I could and we return to the ER  department. 

What felt like an eternity of waiting in the ER waiting room to be seen as probably only 15 minutes. We were brought back and placed in a room and the wait began. Multiple labs were drawn and discussions had in the hallway about what this meant. Included in those discussions were a pediatric oncologist and a pediatric general surgeon.   We were told they saw a mass that originated from the kidney, went into the liver, and wrapped around the aorta.  We were told they needed to operate the very next day.   This would include  A liver biopsy, bone marrow biopsy,  and a port insertion. The cancer she had would need chemo treatments.  Lauren was admitted to a room and we waited on the surgery. 

The day of the surgery arrived and Lauren was beaming ear to ear with smiles throughout the morning. She went in for surgery and after 2 1/2 hours and the procedures were complete.  Then the waiting game began for us. We had no idea what type of cancer she was dealing with but it appeared to be neuroblastoma.

The day after the procedures were performed, a chest CT scan was ran to find her cancer had also reached her right and left lungs.  A total of 3 nodules were seen on the scan ranging from 5mm-8mm in size.   The rollercoaster ride continued for us with the results of her bone marrow procedure being negative.  All the while, we kept researching neuroblastoma and the poor survival rates. 

Results of of the liver biopsy finally came back a week after the journey began.  The results were baffling to us and the doctors.  Our daughter had stage 4 Wilm's Tumor.  Survival rates nearly doubled compared to neuroblastoma. 

A treatment plan was implemented immediately with her first round of chemo starting on the day after her diagnosis was finalized.   These chemo treatments will cover initially 6 weeks provided Lauren's lab results and vitals come back good.  A CT scan of her abdomen and chest will be performed. The plan is to shrink the Wilm's tumor so it can hopefully be removed safely at that time. If the surgeons do not feel it can be safely removed after reviewing the scan, another 6 weeks of chemo will need to be performed. Otherwise, the tumor will be surgically removed at CS Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. 

Following her second surgery, treatments will consist of weekly chemo on most weeks or radiation over a 27 week period for a total of 33 weeks. We do know there will be 2 weeks of hospitalizations during this time period. Between these treatments we will have blood transfusions, lab work, checks of vitals, specialist office visits just to name a few. 

The dollars that are donated will help offset some of these unplanned expenses.  FMLA coverage helps secure your work position but does limit funds coming in during this time. Treatments have already started so any help would be appreciated. The number one thing we ask is that you keep Lauren and our family in your thoughts and prayers during this time. 

Thank you!

James and Kathy S


  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 6 yrs


James Stansburry
Holly, MI

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