This is Cora
Born into a happy family, Cora was wanted even before we knew she was coming. Our son had just turned two and the thought of a little playmate for him made our hearts swell with joy. There’s nothing like the sound of children laughing and playing, filling your world, to turn a house into a home.
We were so excited when we found out she was going to be a girl – me probably more than my husband. Not that her father loves her any less than I do – but a mother’s love and desire is just different. Besides, I had always wanted a daughter.
When they handed her to me and I looked at her face for the first time, and she looked back at me with her Grandma Loretta’s eyes, I experienced more love than I thought capable. I now have TWO children with the love of my life and somehow my heart is able to hold all of that love in it, all at once.
She is three and a half, loves all things pink and purple, and can be heard singing You Are My Sunshine while she plays with her stuffed pigs and My Little Ponies – stopping only to laugh at the wonderful scenarios she’s come up with that day.
She has a really deep voice and laughs like a truck driver.
Early this summer she started having stomach pain and leg pain.
The Pain Begins
At first we thought it was growing pains, but the stomach ache just didn’t fit. Then she started having trouble walking and began crying in the night. We took her to the ER. They looked at her (and at us) and told us it was constipation and sent us home.
Her back and her eyes started hurting. We took her to the pediatrician. Again we were told it was constipation.
A third trip – to the ER again this time – we asked “Could this be anything else?”
“No. It’s constipation.”
Her pain continued and then the fever came.
Another trip to the pediatrician, but this time I was not going to be dismissed as a hysterical female.
“Look. It’s not constipation. You need to DO SOMETHING about this.”
They drew some blood and sent it off to the lab. It came back abnormal. That was on a Monday. By the next Monday, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. She has a large tumor in her abdomen and it has spread to her bones and bone marrow.
Cora just finished her second of six rounds of chemotherapy. She’s already lost most of her hair and is very weak. Soon she will go into surgery to harvest some healthy bone marrow and stem cells before the cancer or the chemo takes it all. This will be transplanted back into her later.
Chemotherapy, for those who don’t know, is not the same thing as radiation…. which she will also have to have. Chemotherapy is chemical treatment – which is a fancy way of saying that they are pumping poison into her in hopes that it can kill the cancer before either one of them can take her first. If we are very lucky, the tumors will shrink enough that they can be surgically removed. Then comes the radiation and immunotherapy.
Radiation destroys more than just cancer cells, it also damages much of the body’s natural defenses.
Roughly half (40-60%) of the patients survive the first course of treatment. Of those that do, roughly half (40-60%) relapse within a year. Of those who relapse, the chance of survival is very low. So low they don’t bother with a number.
We plan on beating those odds.
If you can, please help. Every dollar makes a huge difference.
If you can’t, please pray for us and spread the word. #careforcora