It was Wednesday December 13th, 2000 and Alyssa had woken up with
swollen glands and we thought her six year molars were coming through.
She showed no other signs of any other problems. On Saturday the 16th
she woke up and her cheeks & eyes were swollen pretty bad. We had
become concerned at this point & called her dentist and we were told
that her teeth were breaking through may cause some swelling in her
glands but would not have any effect on her cheeks or eyes. By Sunday
morning her swelling had gotten progressively worse.
Sunday afternoon we took Alyssa to see her pediatrician and he thought she might have some type of infection. He gave us a sample of Augmenton to see if that would help with the swelling and asked that we check back with him the first part of the week to see if the antibiotic had helped any or if she was still having problems. ***Because we were given a sample of the antibiotic and not the actual prescription, we did not receive the normal instructions you would get at a pharmacy on how to give the medicine. We did know the dosage, but we did not know whether to give it with food or not and what side effects were possible. About thirty minutes to an hour after we gave her the first dose, we noticed that her stomach had become very hard and swollen, it looked like she had swallowed a basketball. We called her pediatrician again and he referred us to the emergency room because it was Sunday night and his office was closed. After being seen by the attending physician in the e.r., that night we had found out that the Augmenton needed to be taken with food and we had given it on an empty stomach and as a result it caused abdominal swelling. ***While the doctor was in the room discussing this with us, Alyssa started complaining of breathing problems and had visible sign of shortness of breath. The doctor did not see any reason to be concerned, ***however as a precautionary measure he felt better taking a chest x-ray to make sure her airway was not being compromised. After the doctor got the x-rays back he had noticed a shadow on her lungs and also said her mediastinal area was too large for a child her age. He suggested that we see her regular pediatrician the very next morning.
The next morning ( Monday December 18, 2000 ) before we could call and make an appointment, we received a call from her pediatrician asking us to bring Alyssa in as soon as possible rather than waiting because we were expecting some bad weather later in the week and road conditions may be bad. Both our pediatrician and the er doctor did a good job in the way that they did not alarm us or let on that they felt her condition was as serious as it was. So we went ahead and drove her into town to see her pediatrician as requested and he set her up for some blood work and a cat scan. During all this her swelling got worse as did her breathing. She had also developed quite a bit of blood in the white of her eyes from hemorrhaging caused by the pressure and swelling. Once the results from the cat scan came back we were sent directly to a surgeon to have him look over my daughter and schedule a biopsy. This was the first time we were given any indication as to what the doctors were looking for. ***The surgeon wanted to schedule her biopsy towards the end of the week, but when he found out we live 40 miles away from the hospital and that she had difficulty breathing he scheduled her to be his first patient the very next morning. Tuesday December 19th she went to have her prep work done for her biopsy. She was in very good spirits and full of energy. After her prep work was completed they took her in for her biopsy and while praying nonstop we waited for what seemed like eternity, but in reality was only a couple of hours. Finally her surgeon came out and confirmed that it was a late stage of cancer and that during the biopsy her lungs collapsed. We were taken to another floor of the hospital where she was recovering in the pediatric intensive care unit on support and a breathing machine.
Her surgeon had arranged for her to be on a jet to St. Jude's Children Research Hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee that afternoon. We had to leave and drive to Memphis and leave our daughter in the hospital because the jet only had room for my daughter, her team of doctors and the machines that were needed to keep her breathing.
When we arrived at St. Jude God gave us an overwhelming peace about our situation. We knew at that time my daughter was in the best hands. Soon after arrival we met her team of Oncologists and after running several tests, reviewing x-rays, looking at the cat scan results, and looking at her biopsy, her doctors confirmed that Alyssa had Fourth Stage Non Hodgkin's Lymphoblastic Lymphoma with Central Nervous System (CNS) Disease in her spine. We were told that her airway was eighty percent compromised and that the tumor in her chest was covering sixty - five percent of her chest. The tumor was crushing her arteries and veins which was causing the swelling.
Her doctors were amazing and got right on top of things. They immediately gave us a treatment plan and protocol for her diagnosis. ***The doctors also told us that she would be on total support and breathing machines for at least a week before they would even think about taking her off. They also told us that she wouldn't be able to talk for a couple of days after because of the breathing tube. However after only four days she was off support and breathing machines, and as soon as they pulled the tube out she was speaking clearly.
GOD has been and still is in control. We can now look back and see how GOD has taken care of Alyssa. We can see how GOD has used these doctors and St. Jude to give my daughter the best possible treatment. Some of the things that we now realize GOD has done for us are:
The greatest thing we saw GOD do was to answer so many prayers and bring my daughter into remission on February 1st, 2001. This is a day we will never forget. My family and I owe everything to our Lord Jesus Christ and give all Honor and Glory for everything we've witnessed to GOD.
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