The following blog was written by Kim Heineman:
In January of 2009, our youngest daughter, Deanna, who was only thirteen months old, was diagnosed with stage 1 Wilms tumor. The tumor was found in her left kidney, which was quickly removed along with the tumor, and because her diagnosis was so favorable, the oncologist gave us the option to continue her treatment with chemotherapy. The difference in statistics was minimal, but we decided to have her treated for the next 4 1/2 months with a light dose of chemo.
For the next two years, while we were living in Tennessee, Deanna was doing extremely well, so when the opportunity presented itself, we chose to relocate to Texas. Right away we began looking for a pediatric oncologist so Deanna could receive her follow-up scans and treatment. Several people recommended Cook Children’s so we made the call and got her in to see someone. From the very beginning, we were so impressed with the doctors and staff at the oncology clinic.
For several months, Deanna received her follow-up scans, which always came back clear. So in April of 2011, when the doctors at Cook Children’s found another large Wilms tumor in her right lung, we were all very shocked. The tumor responded well after a round of radiation therapy and several months of chemotherapy. On August 15th, the surgeon was able to remove the remainder of the tumor.
Once again, when her treatment ended in December of 2011, we assumed we were done. Her first ct scan was completely clear, but in April of 2012, the radiologist found a small mass next to her liver. Immediately plans were made to remove the mass and perform a biopsy to determine if it was again Wilms. Several days later, the pathology report confirmed that it was, in fact, another Wilms tumor. She is currently undergoing another round of chemotherapy to make sure all of the cells destroyed.
So many times after we moved to Texas we asked ourselves if we made the right choice for our family considering all that we have been through with Deanna and how difficult it has been to make a fresh start. But we soon realized that Cook Children’s is one of the reasons why we moved here. With the exceptional level of care Deanna has received and having the most amazing surgeon and the best oncologist who trained under one of the leading physicians for Wilms tumors, we are confident that we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
We appreciate the experience we had in Tennessee, but the surgeon, doctors and nurses that we have dealt with over the past year at Cook Children’s have gone above and beyond what we could have ever hoped for. The child life specialists are also amazing because they truly care about our kids and treat them as their own. Everyone at Cook Children’s has made this entire experience so much easier to handle. Words can’t really express how wonderful it feels to have our precious Deanna in the hands of such an incredible group of people.
Thank you Cook Children’s!