When Gianna was 3 months old we noticed that one leg was longer and slightly fatter than the other. After a visit to the emergency and to her Pediatrician they confirmed it was Hemihypertrophy...which by itself is not dangerous but is associated with a type of cancer called Wilms Tumor.
We were told not to worry but as a precaution we should have her scanned for tumors every 3 months. In May of 2012 she had a ultrasound that showed a single cyst on one of her kidneys. After a CT was done it showed that there were multiple cysts on both kidneys.
We were referred to UCLA.
After an open biopsy was done(BASICALLY A C-SECTION ) incision they discovered that she had Wilms not only in one kidney but in both.It was then that our journey really began. She had to have a port implanted and chemo was initiated in June 2012. After her first round of chemo in September she had to undergo surgery to remove 9 tumors from her kidneys. At the age of 2 years old! We were devastated and heartbroken.
UCLA has made it possible for us to bear this heavy burden. From her Oncologist Dr. Kempert to the nursing staff on the 3rd and 5th floors we have met with much support. I have to specifically mention Fariba a charge nurse on the third floor. When Gianna was first diagnosed and I couldnt even see straight from crying so much she told me to go take a shower and cry my eyes out in there, but to come out with a smile for my daughter because this is the hand that we have been dealt, and she needs me to have a smile for her to be able to cope. She was soo soo right and she doesn’t know how much strength that she gave me in saying that.
Today my daughter is doing well and thriving her hair is coming back and she is anticipating her 3rd birthday. She is still under close watch for the tumors and goes to clinic weekly. But we thank god and UCLA for every day that we have her.