We’ve been wanting to write this post for some time now and it seems even more important today than ever. Over the past few weeks our Facebook walls have been riddled with cancer…stories of people undergoing cancer treatment/surgeries, requests for prayer and the passing away of a little angel. It is in this angel’s name that we write this post. Her name was Aisy.
Aisylin had been having random tummy aches and a decreased appetite when she was diagnosed in September of 2008 with neuroblastoma. She had an inoperable tumor the size of a grapefruit in her belly which encompassed major veins and arteries. The cancer had already spread to her bone and bone marrow, which classified it as stage IV, with and a thirty to forty percent chance of survival.
Aisylin started week-long cycles of chemotherapy every 28 days. The following 6 months would be filled with grueling treatments, blood and platelet transfusions, and numerous fevers and infections requiring many long stays in the hospital. The reward – clearing of the cancer from her bones and bone marrow, and shrinking of the tumor by 46 percent!
This was good progress, but the tumor was still wrapped around key vessels. The surgery that was needed was complicated and risky and would need to be done in NYC by a surgeon that specializes in these cases. The next 6 months were spent mostly in NYC. After two major surgeries, more heavy-duty chemotherapy, and radiation, scans finally showed no evidence of disease in Aisylin’s body! Family and friends were elated as Aisylin entered into the next phase of treatment designed to reduce the chances of relapse, monoclonal antibody. October 2009 she had her first infusion.
Hopefulness turned to horror as a complication caused blood flow to Aisylin’s bowel to be cut off, and she lost all of her small and most of her large intestines. Doctors said that the insult was so severe that she was not likely to make it through the night. Her parents prayed as Aisylin clung to life. After a month in the hospital, she was air lifted back to Disney Children’s Hospital in Orlando the day before thanksgiving so that she could spend what doctors thought would be her final days at home with family. Her parents decided to take her home where she could be comfortable and with her family. Miraculously, Aisylin’s energy level improved day by day and her pain decreased. She began to turn yellow, however as her liver was being damaged from the bowel obstruction and dependence on chemical nutrition. This was worrisome and meant she could not qualify for any further cancer treatment if it came back.
Worst fears were realized in January when scans revealed a new growth of neuroblastoma in Aisylin’s leg. Cancer treatment once again became an urgent priority, but nothing could be done unless Aisylin’s liver enzymes could be reduced. Her parents immediately took her to Children’s Hospital of Boston where experimental infusions of omega-3 fatty acid from fish oil were consistently reversing liver damage in children with bowel issues who were dependent on chemical nutrition. Aisylin was immediately enrolled in the study and her liver enzymes began to drop quickly. Six weeks later they were within the normal range and the doctor released her to go home with follow-up visits required every 2 months!
While in Boston, Aisylin was also evaluated for the cancer. Unfortunately scans showed that the cancer had spread rapidly with several new spots in various areas of her body including the skull, arm, legs, and pancreas. Aisy continued to fight but eventually lost her battle last month and went to heaven. Please keep her memory alive by making a donation to AisysAngels.com, a 501c3 non-profit organization to fund neuroblastoma research and to aid families with financial hardship due to having a child with cancer.
Cancer is a horrible disease. It doesn’t discriminate, and it’s becoming more and more common. It needs to be stopped in it’s tracks. While some cancers are genetic, much of the information that we post on Babyminding is to help ensure that we build strong healthy little bodies for our children so that they may never experience the wrath of cancer or other serious illnesses. A healthy immune system is key to fending off the vast array of toxins that our bodies deal with every day. The fewer toxins that have to be fought, the better state of health your little one will experience and the less likely they will suffer from chronic or acute diseases like cancer . Maintaining a healthy weight and eating lots or organic fruits and veggies will also lower cancer risk. Obviously there are no guarantees…but as parents, we can continue to ask for safer products, for full disclosure of product ingredients and for more research. If armed with these tools, we can better fight the battle against cancer and other devastating illnesses. Our families lives depend on us! And so today, I challenge you to eliminate one toxin from your life. Throw away one product that you and your family may be exposed to on a daily basis that contains a paragraph of ingredients that you can’t pronounce. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Start your journey to health today!
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