as told by her mother Andrea
In December of 2010, Cassie started complaining of back pain. When it was not getting better after 3 days, we took her to her doctor, who told us to bring her back if it did not start getting better within a week. We knew it was time to take her back in when she would not get off the couch due to pain and when she started whimpering in her sleep. When her X-Ray came back abnormal, an appointment was made for an MRI. On December 23rd, we were planning on going in for an MRI and heading home to start our holiday plans, instead we were taken into the back room where Cassie was still sedated and notified that the radiologist was on the phone with the doctor who would be coming to talk to us shortly. I will never forget the feeling of meeting the man who had the gut wrenching job of telling us that our 6 year old daughter has cancer, and he is also our new oncologist. How is it possible for someone to have every emotion running through them and feel numb at the same time?
Cassie started her treatment in January of 2011. She had 6 rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, a stem-cell transplant, 20 courses of radiation, immunotherapy, and 2 line infections (the port under her skin that is used to administer chemotherapy). After 18 months and 173 nights spent in the hospital, the day finally came in March 2012 – Cassie was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease) and was able to stop treatments and resume to her life. She started playing Lacrosse, writing stories, catching up on school and playing with friends.
In March of 2013 Cassie went in for her routine scans and a new area lit up on her spine. Cassie had relapsed. She was started on a new clinical trial and received another 32 rounds of chemo and 12 more cycles of radiation. In April of 2015, we were finally declared NED for the 2nd time and once again, sent to resume life.
In October of 2015 Cassie's scans showed 3 new areas of involvement, and in just a matter of a couple months Cassie had relapsed for the 2nd time. We are currently starting a new clinical trial and will follow with MIBG therapy (a type of therapy that adds an ingredient to liquid radiation that will hopefully attach to and kill her cancer cells) and we are being proactive about collecting T-cells for future use if the other 2 trials fail.
In the meantime, Cassie keeps her medical staff on their toes, asking to see labels of her medication and making sure she is aware of the side effects. She has a spunky personality and innocent sarcasm that makes people smile and shake their heads at the same time. She has the playfulness of a child, but the reasoning and medical knowledge of many adults. You may hear the term "road map" for a child's treatment and after treatment plan. We have had several different road maps, and currently we are...RECALCULATING...