In January of 2020, Rally Kid Zoe came down with an ear infection. This was only the two-and-half-year-old’s second ear infection ever—as she had always been a healthy baby and toddler—but the first round of antibiotics did not clear it up. Her parents brought her back to the pediatrician for a second round, and although the ear infection cleared up, she never seemed to fully bounce back.
“We noticed that she still remained lethargic at times,” shared Zoe’s mom, “and we became much more concerned when, one evening, I felt swollen lymph nodes on the back of her head and my husband noticed petechiae (brown-purple spots caused by bleeding under the skin) on the upper left side of her chest. I took her to the pediatrician the next day.”
As a former pediatric nurse, Zoe’s mom feared the worst but remained hopeful. Unfortunately, a visit to the doctor revealed a low hemoglobin level, indicating a potential lymphoma or leukemia diagnosis. They immediately headed to the Scottish Rite ER where it was confirmed that their daughter did in fact have leukemia: high-risk B-cell ALL.
Zoe’s first admission lasted 19 days. She was then readmitted five days later for neutropenia (low white blood cell count) and fever. She has been admitted one other time for neutropenic fever as well as four planned admissions for one of her therapy phases, two ICU day stays so she could receive very important chemo that she is allergic to, as well as the many weekly clinic visits and lab visits for count checks and covid screenings. Zoe is now over seven months into therapy and approximately one month away from maintenance therapy.
“We still feel like we’re processing the fact our daughter has cancer,” her family said. “Most days it feels like we are still just in survival mode. This last phase has really brought a lot of the emotions and realities to the surface. Watching your silly, sassy three-year-old feel so terrible that she only wants to stay in bed or lay in your lap all day as you rub her head while the rest of her hair falls out is heartwrenching.”
Despite the challenges, there are happy days, too. “I’m learning that God blesses us with what I have named ‘refill weeks’ in which Zoe is feeling great and we can enjoy laughing and playing,” her mom said. “We are so thankful that Zoe’s body has responded so well to treatment, that her side effects have been minimal and that her prognosis is excellent. We hold tightly to the promise of Romans 8:28 that He will use all things, even this, for our good and His glory! This journey has made us so thankful for all the ‘little things’ in life, how much closer our family has grown together, and the precious family and friends who have come around us to love and support us so well!”
Zoe will be in treatment until approximately June 2022.
Every child who has been diagnosed with childhood cancer inspires us to Rally On to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects and, ultimately, cures. Please join us in the fight against childhood cancer by making a donation or setting up your own Rally fundraiser today.