Thursday, March 22, 2012


My last post I was trying to figure out my priorities.  Today, some of those were answered.  We were told today that Gabriella has rhabdomyosarcoma, embryonal type.  This is what they had suspected.  
We met with Dr. Marina and Dr. Aftandilian for over 2 hours to discuss the course of treatment for G.  

...I'm having a tough time writing this...
Still trying to process all of the information. 
Its still a favorable outcome because of the location of the tumor.  Dr. Marina said we can cure this with minimal risk.  

The doctors want to be aggressive with the least amount of side effects and this will be done with 42 weeks of chemotherapy.  They called it "intermediate dose chemo".   Its a combination of three chemo meds that she will get either every week or every three weeks.  We will stay in the hospital for 24 hours for one of the treatments because of the nausea that ensues. The total nights being 14.  Things can always change but its a start.  Dr. Marina also talked discussed with us the different side effects of the drugs and said at the end of this, we will know so much more than we ever wanted to about all of this.  

We will meet with the radiologist on Monday to talk about when they will start radiation.  I believe it won't be for about 4 weeks but I can't remember the reason.  She will talk to us about the radiation treatment possibilities and the side effects.  This will include effects to her ovaries and uterus.  

We also discussed surgery.  They would call this a cancer operation but they want to hold off on this option due to the increase risk of morbidity (meaning making things worse).  If they did perform surgery, they would have to remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue, which would be her vagina, cervix, part of her uterus, etc.  At this point, they said it was best to shrink the tissue with radiation and chemo.  Other options will come up as needed.  We will also work on shrinking the lymph nodes as these are involved as well.  

The main things that she wanted us to take away from this meeting were the following:
1) Chemotherapy
2) Radiation
3) !!!!!!!!Curable!!!!!!!!!!
4) Treatment will be toxic but tolerable
5) Going to be hell
6) Kids are resilient !!!!!!!!!!!!!
7) Stay away from sick people
8) Eat
10) Save money for counseling.  Ok, I'm adding that one in.  

I will THRIVE off of #3 and not stop FIGHTING UNTIL THIS IS BEAT!!!

Upcoming events:
Tomorrow, Friday, we will be back at the hospital for a PET scan.  This will be done under anesthesia but we will probably be home after.  
Monday, meeting with the radiologist at Stanford.
Tuesday, back to hospital for port placement.  This will be done under anesthesia as well.  The port will be placed under her skin in her chest and they will access it for chemo and blood draws.  I'm familiar with these thankfully.  We will probably spend the night Tues night.
Wednesday, 1st Chemo treatment.  We'll probably be there on Wed night as well.  

PLANS FOR THE WEEKEND: GOING TO MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM AND INVITING YOU GUYS TO GO MEET US THERE!!!  At the request of G, we are planning a trip either Saturday or Sunday.  More details to come but she wanted to invite her friends and so do we.  

Good night my dear friends. 



  1. You WILL beat this!!! And your army is here for you! All of our love and prayers are with you every second of every day!
    Love, Sasha & Fam

  2. Kristen thank you for your updates, I can't begin to fathom how difficult this may be. However, with lots of prayer and faith you will find peace. We are here and want to help in any way possible!! Our prayer team @ Capitola Community Church are keeping dear G @ the top of our prayer chain!! I'm keeping them abreast of daily happenings! God bless you all!!!
    Love to all,
    Sharon and mike

  3. Kristen I'll watch for details so we can get a group of Gabriella's preschool buddies to join you!

  4. Wow, that was a big update. You guys are so strong and amazing. We would LOVE to go to the Aquarium with you on Sunday if you pick that day. we have plans Saturday but we are in if you choose Sunday. I will keep checking back here to see what day you pick. I would love to see that little fighter. We also have a gift for her.
    Jen matt makayla and Bryce

  5. Evan is wishing we were not out of town this weekend to join you at the aquarium. Little ones are resilient - they are amazing that way. Thinking of you and say hi to the penquins for us.

  6. Hi Kristen,

    I am a friend of Mark Buthman. Mark has asked his friends to send prayers and positive energy your way, and I have to say that Mark knows a LOT of very interesting people. You will be getting full support from some very special folks. Keep the faith and we will help Gabriella BEAT this.

    Children are incrediblly resiliant. Please rent this film to give you strength and hopefully ease your worries.

    Much love and laughter to you and your family.


  7. Hi Kristen and Adam, G and B,

    As nursing faculty, cancer in children-- and it's treatment-- is one of my lectures; to prepare last year, I spent a day at LPCH with my dear friend, Sadie, a PNP there. I can speak about the resilience in the children I saw-- I was amazed at how playful and sweet they remain while having to endure such discomfort. The pain I witnessed was in their parents' eyes. It will be difficult to stay strong and positive for your little G while watching her go through treatment, but you are both strong and positive and will be able to do it-- but don't forget to take time for you, too. I wish I was closer to come be with your girls so you and Adam could have time alone together, but you have many wonderful people in your life who will read this and jump in. You are on my mind and in my heart and I will follow G's progress here as she-- and you-- walk this dark path to the rainbows at the other end....xo, Christine

    1. Hey Christine, thank you so much for sending Sadie! It felt great to meet her and I was grateful!