Hannah

Hannah was originally diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in February 2005.  She was 5yrs old at the time and went through 2yrs 3mths of chemotherapy like a champ — she completed treatment at age 7 and we were thrilled that she was finally going to get to just be a normal little girl again.  Following the completion of treatment, she continued to be followed closely and we were counting down the days until she reached the 3yr mark and was able to make her first visit to the Survivor’s Clinic at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta.  About two months before her appointment, we discovered a large knot in front of her left ear.  The pediatrician suspected it was simply a cyst and nothing to be concerned about.  We were sent to an ENT and went through two rounds of antibiotics in an attempt to clear up whatever was causing the knot — it did not work.  During this time, Hannah seemed to constantly be fighting sickness, feeling tired, and complaining of aches and pains in her arms and legs.  The ENT worked hard to get her well enough to sedate her and remove the growing mass in front of her ear.  While waiting for the biopsy results, we finally had the much anticipated Survivor Clinic appointment and found out that her bloodwork was not quite what it should be and that her bone density test showed osteopoenia (thin bones) — not what you would expect from a child who had been off chemotherapy for 3yrs.  A week later, we received a phone call from the pediatrician saying that the mass that had been removed was actually a leukemic tumor and that Hannah had relapsed 🙁  Because we were not a match for transplant, she faced another 2yr 3mth regimen of chemotherapy that was 3 times harder than what she had endured the first time.  Just four short weeks into her treatment, Hannah suffered a stroke with a brain bleed and blood clot on the left side of her brain.  She had to learn to walk again and went through months of intense physical and occupational therapy to regain the strength in her arms and legs.  She endured 6 mths of blood thinner injections in her stomach to try to dissolve the clot in her brain — unfortunately, they did not work and she still has no blood flow to the major artery on the left side of her brain.  The blessing in it all is that you would never know it is there — God has kept His mighty hand of healing on her little body throughout this entire ordeal — she is a joy and inspiration to everyone she meets!  She continues to be extremely sensitive to many of the chemotherapy drugs they have used and her oncologist is constantly having to tweak her doses and switch things up to give her the best treatment possible without causing her harm.  She is scheduled to complete treatment again in September 2012 — just in time for her 13th birthday 😉  By that time, she will have been dealing with pediatric cancer for 7yrs — 5 of which were spent on chemotherapy.  She is my hero and her positive attitude never ceases to amaze me!