As of SaturdayJanuary 16, we found out that Bella has osteosarcoma. Here is our story and how it began....
On Wednesday January 13th at 4am, Bella woke me up crying with sharp pains, shallow breathing while laying down and woke her out of a sleep. I wanted to take her to the ER but she wanted to wait a while and the pain did ease up. I made the appt for 10:30am and when I picked her up at school the pain had returned and didn't want to speak and started crying again when we got to the BMW Health Center.
After seeing the Doctor, who checked her thoroughly for somethng muscular or possible neurological, like a pinched nerve and also performed an EKG and Chest x-ray.
The doctor noticed something different from her last x-ray and didn't want to speculate but wanted me to take her to the GHS Childrens Hospital downtown and if I could go now. We left immediately and in the ER they asked us a lot of questions, looked at her x-ray and took another one and evaluated her. Her x-ray looked like it had numerous tiny snowballs in her lungs. Finally, the ER doctor came in to tell me that it looks like osteosarcoma which I knew what that meant and I said "That is impossible!" I told him that there has to be film on the x-ray or something else because Bella has always been so healthy! She has had an antibiotic only ONCE in her life, takes probiotics from Whole Foods daily and eats many organics and that is crazy!
The doctor said that we needed to admit her for further testing and of course I agreed. They did a cat scan, MRI, bone scan of her whole body and a bone biopsy of her right knee.....we had an x-ray done of her knee in Sept and went to the Orthopedist in October who told us that it was Osgood Schlatter's disease, a common bone growth problem in athletes, hereditary which I also have, but not serious. Also, Bella had an x-ray to check her scoliosis and everything in her lungs looked fine.
The Pediatric Oncology Orthopedist explained that they felt it was osteosarcoma and the bone biopsy would confirm it and if so, we needed to have a game plan because within those 2 1/2 months the cancer had begun in her knee and metastasized to her lungs and is aggressive...
We just couldn't believe it! No other signs or symptoms and just all of a sudden!
We anxiously waited for each test result and have had friends and family praying continuously for her. On Friday, we had her annointed with holy oil and prayed over for healing and our church had a prayer vigil for her that evening. Later, that evening, the doctor told us that the bone scan showed no other places in her body with problems which was a great sign and we were thanking God for this blessing!
After the bone biopsy on Friday, Bella was in a lot of pain that night and hardly slept:( On Saturday, it confirmed our worst nightmare that it was the rare cancer that only affects children! Fortunately, the only major organ it affects is the lungs. This bone cancer forms a tumor on the body out of bone, enters the bloodstream and forms calcified nodules in the lungs. The cat scan confirmed the calcification and we didn't want to put Bella thru another biopsy since we knew this disease affects the lungs.
Bella began chemotherapy today and will have several treatments over the next 10 weeks, calling it two cycles, and then she will have the bone tumor removed from her knee, have a tibia replacement, physical therapy and begin chemo again three weeks after for another 4 complete cycles...
The doctors told us that Bella will not be going back to school this year and most of next year:( Bella is so upset about missing school and worried about her grades, being able to stay in honors classes, passing and making up the work she has missed and will do whatever it takes to excel!
The friend of ours, who is a doctor in Cancer Research, and our doctors told us that being an aggressive cancer is better than a long term one because the aggressive ones respond better to chemotherapy which we are praying about and another blessing for us!
Also, the doctors told us that there isn't any reason to believe that she cannot be cured and gave us a lot of hope...
One of the oncologists asked Bella what she wanted to do someday and she said that she wanted to possibly be an Industrial Designer like her sister but attend Harvard. He said, "Why Harvard and not Yale?" Because he went to Yale and he told us that if she visited both campuses that she would choose Yale. We laughed. Then, he said to her, "All of the kids that apply to the Ivy League schools are intelligent but they are looking for unique characteristics and do you know like what?" She said, "No." He said," kids that create non-profits, are active in community service and situations like yours young lady because You will be a cancer survivor and a shoe in to any Ivy League school. The doctors even told her that they would write her letter of recommendation. Her face just lit up and she was bursting with joy! Then, they put her under anesthesia....
We have asked ourselves so many times, why our child and not us? How could this have happened? What caused this? The doctors assured us that it wasn't anything that we did and they don't know what causes this type of cancer but that she will beat this:)
When they were first speculating and assuming while we were in shock and disbelief, Bella told me that this wasn't God's doing but she knows that He is with her. God truly blessed us with GHS Pediatric Hospital in Greenville, SC . All of them are absolutely phenomenal.
We truly believe that God is going to use Bella as an instrument for His greater good and has big plans for her!
PLEASE don't stop praying and stay in touch with Bella because she needs and truly appreciates all of the love and support that she's receiving. We are truly amazed at the outpouring of love, blessings and believe in the power of prayer!