Amanda is the youngest of five. It all started when she was six years old.
Over night she became sick. Throwing up, diarrhea, abdomen pain and couldn't
sleep because it hurt too much. We were living in Mississippi at the time
and the next morning we went to the local hospital.
They noticed her extended abdomen and a subsequent CT Scan and ultrasound
showed a mass. We were then sent to a major children's hospital in Jackson,
Mississippi where she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. That was in 1997,
and they ended up taking out the tumor left kidney and adrenal gland. We
were in the hospital exactly 10 days.
She was fine, no chemo, radiation or anything. They did regular follow up
visits and in 2000 we moved back to my home town in Texas. We were then seen
by an Oncologist at UTMB in Galveston until the 10 year mark. At that time
she was released to her primary care physician and told to just have regular
blood checks. The following year we did but the second year marked 12 year
point after her initial diagnosis.
Amanda was 18, full of life, working a part time job and in her senior year
of high school, which included being in the marching band. Working a part
time job and in the marching band, life was good! Then in November and
December of 2009, she started complaining of back pain. A trip to her doctor
resulted in an initial diagnosis of kidney stones, with no blood work being
done. As the pain continued she revisited the doctor several times and being
close to Christmas was unable to see the doctor or the lab technician was
not available. By the time Christmas break rolled around the pain was almost
unbearable and she noticed a protrusion on her abdomen. We called the Dr and
couldn't get an ultrasound done till the next week so I took her to the ER.
We live in a small community and after 11 hours in the ER she was put into
an ambulance and on the way to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. This
ended up being a two hour trip at night, in the rain. Trying to keep up
with the ambulance. Following my daughter in an ambulance in those
circumstances was a nightmare.
That was Dec 28, 2009 and on Jan 1, 2010 the doctors at TCH did a biopsy,
port placement, bone marrow aspiration, MIBG scan and a bone scan. She was
diagnosed with Recurrent Neuroblastoma Stage 3, High Risk. It had not
metastasized and there was no MYCN gene, which was something the doctors had
not come across before so they didn't have a handle on what her prognosis
would be so they went by the normal staging criteria that they had.
The tumor was wrapped around her aorta, vena cava and spine. Two rounds of
chemo were started first and on March 4, 2010 a 12 hour resection resulted
in the doctors being able to remove all of the tumor. 5 rounds of chemo, 12
days of radiation, 3 days of high dose chemo followed by Stem Cell Rescue
has been performed. Not exactly what a 18 year old had in mind for her
senior year in high school. She is now about 90 days post Stem Cell Rescue
and is looking forward to the team performing the tests that will tell her
if she is cancer free. It has been a long stressful 10 months but she has
visited our local college and is preparing to enter college in the spring of
By; Gwen Mathis ( Amanda's mom)