Our baby girl, our little ray of sunshine, Rachel Alexa, is in for the fight of her life. And we have to thank God everyday that she truly is a fighter!
Rachel is in for a long battle with Leukemia (A.L.L. T-Cell). We are in quite the whirlwind at the moment - and she has been through some very difficult health battles for the majority of her short 22 years. She fights these battles with admirable strength and courage every day with rarely any complaints at all.
This summer, Rachel was lucky enough to spend 8 whole weeks with her Ciacia (Aunt) Barbara, Uncle Bob and Cousin Shealyn (not to mention their extended Florida family). She was getting some work experience from Ciacia Barbara.
She wanted to be home for her birthday (8/30), so we booked her on a flight back home on August 6th. Of course, we all went to greet her at the airport (Mom, Dad and brother Stephen). She came home knowing she would return back to Florida in October.
Rachel was one of the first to exit the plane when she came home, so we saw her right away. Immediately, we all looked at each other, very concerned, and wondered “What the heck is that lump on her neck”? It was big!
Being a bit late in the day, we waited until the following morning and brought her to her doctor’s Urgent Care Center. They sent us to the emergency room and soon after that they admitted her to the Norwalk Hospital.
They did a whole variety of blood tests. They did a biopsy of the visible neck lump. Then they did a CT scan, where they discovered a multitude of lumps all throughout her lymph nodes. They did an echo cardiogram.
Sadly, the results were not good. Our worst nightmare was happening and happening quickly. Once they realized what they were dealing with, there was no waiting. They threw us in an ambulance and shot us up to Smilow (Yale New Haven Cancer Center) right away.
Her chemo treatments have now begun. She is in the induction phase - so they are aggressively going after her cancer cells. One chemo drug had to be administered through her spine. They did a spinal tap and collected her fluids for testing and then injected her with chemo. The other chemo treatments are typically done intravenously. She is on a regiment of high doses of steroids and too many antibiotics to count.
Rachel will be spending an awful lot of time here at Yale/Smilow. And she is so thrilled to have her visits with friends and family. We have THE BEST support system EVER!!! Even on those days where the chemo is at its worst, she is still a shining star and is always willing to give you a smile.
As devastating as this diagnosis has been to our family, Rachel’s life has been filled with health challenges. At an early age, it was discovered that she has a compromised immune system. Because of that, we have to do a weekly infusion of immunoglobulins. She is more terrified of needles than just about anything, yet she has to be a trooper and have those needles injected regardless.
We could share many, many stories about her health issues - including a long stint at Yale overcoming meningitis and multiple surgeries beginning when she was just a few weeks old.
Rachel is the most kind-hearted, beautiful and sweetest little girl you will ever meet. She is facing the challenge of a lifetime right now. We kindly ask you to keep her in your prayers and in your thoughts.
The Kurtessis Family
Again lets get together and help this family. In advance I thank you all from the bottom of my Heart.
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