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.
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:
- ***We were given a sample of the antibiotic instead
of a prescription and that's why we ended up at the er.
Otherwise we may have found out to late what her problem
- ***Alyssa's breathing problems occurred while the doctor
was in the er room, which caused him to do the x-ray that
found the tumor in her chest.
- ***The surgeon wanted to schedule the biopsy for later
in the week, but after finding out that we lived so far
away and that Alyssa was having breathing, he made her top
- ***Alyssa was not expected to make it through the flight
to Memphis, however she made it with no complications at
- ***Alyssa was taken off support after four days, much
earlier than expected. She was also able to speak right
away with no complications.
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
We are working on the update to the story up to today, so
watch the site and your email to see when it will be complete.