Two weeks ago, life was normal. We had just moved to a new town, started meeting new people, and were planning for some summer fun. Shoulder pain that came and went away and a tummy ache with our little boy not being himself has flipped our world upside down.
Trying to lift Ashtons spirits, thinking he was down and out from moving, we went bowling and to the arcade. In the middle of bowling, he says "Momma I need to rest my tummy," and lays his head on the table at the bowling alley. I looked at his daddy and we agreed something is not right. We need to go to the doctor.
At the ER they asked many questions and did a catscan. The nurse come back and asked to take Ashton for a ride and 1 person after another began walking in the room with my husband and I. They don't waste any time, apologize and tell us tell us Ashton has Liver cancer and it has metastasized. As they continued to talk, all I heard was voices, I don't even know what was said. At some point while they were talking, I called the preacher's wife. It was all I could think to do. We needed prayers and we needed them now!
From 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 9th, 2017, we went from belly ache to flying on a plane to New Orleans Children's hospital. Tests and tests and more tests.
June 13th-Diagnosis of Hepatoblastoma Liver Cancer. It's the most common of the rare liver cancers which account for .5 to 2% of all childhood cancers. Rarer though, is that Ashton is 9 and this form is usually diagnosed between 0 to 3 yrs old. Even rarer is that we now have 2 children in the same small town that has been diagnosed with this 1 in a million cancer.
June 16th at 11 p.m - Started the Standard Chemo of Cisplantin, DOXOrubicin, Vincristine, and 5-Fluorouroracil then Neulasta. Ashton received 2 days of chemo. By day 4, Hemoglobin levels dropped drastically and kidney function decreased to a 1/3 of his normal function. Ashton already has kidney damage from a childhood deformity of his ureters. He had to undergo a blood transfusion on June 20th. They plan to do 4 cycles, each lasting 3 wks, then a liver transplant and then two more cycles of chemo. This standard treatment is not ideal for him, as we have seen drastic effects from only 2 days. We need to get to the experts! The leading experts are in Boston which would give us the most options and have the potential of an earlier transplant. We are also looking at a Pittsburg's Children Hospital and St. Jude.
The next year is going to be spent in and out of the hospital, which ever one it may be. We are currently five hours away from our home. Since we had just moved and my husband had changed jobs, we were in the 90 day waiting period to get insurance from his new employer. At this moment I have no idea where we are going and how we are going to get there, I just know we will do whatever it takes and everything will work out. We have had many little angels and signs that God hears us, but we know we also need to do our part here and get Ashton where ever it is best for him to be. We are on a wing and prayer right now. I know God will help fix this, but I also realize we are just starting a journey that will be long and at times unpredictable.
Any help would be greatly appreciated by our family, whether donation, keeping Ashton lifted in prayer, or just sharing Ashton's story. Im usually the one coordinating help for others, and not one to ask for help, but I have no option. We need any help we can get right now. Ashton and his sister are our hearts and we need to find a way to fix this no matter how long or how far. We thank you all in advance and I promise to keep updating as much as possible. I will also post updates on my on facebook page - Marissa Menendez Hammett.