Being a big sister was such a joy for Abella. She always showed her love for her brother, Hudson, by helping him play and discover toys and when he became ill she took on an even more prominent role. She became "Nurse Abella" and was more involved than we ever expected by asking many questions and wanting to help care for his "ouwies". She had learned so much by watching Hudson take his meds, lose his hair and having extended hospital stays. As parents, we were sad to know just how much she really understood but their came a time when all that she had seen in our family would come to benefit her.
After Hudsonís very rare, malignant brain tumor recurred so aggressively and so soon after finishing his treatment, his Neuro-Oncologist suggested we test him for the cancer gene. When Hudsonís results came back positive we decided to test ourselves along with Abella. To our greatest disbelief her results also came back positive for the mutation so we decided to actively screen her since most cancers are treatable if caught in the early stages. She was given a physical, blood work, and a MRI of the brain just for a baseline. As our worst fears had come true Abellaís scan showed her to have not only one but two small brain tumors. One was diagnosed as a Choroid Plexus Carcinoma; which is the exact same type of tumor and location as her brother Hudson. The rarity of a CPC is less than a dozen cases yearly in the entire U.S. and she needed to have it removed with a craniotomy (brain surgery). The other small lesion is called a low grade glioma and we will combat that with chemotherapy. The chances of having two different types of brain tumors occur at the same time is very unusual and hardly seen.
Abella has never had any symptoms, complaints or developmental delays. She is a happy, healthy four year old who loves school, her friends, gymnastics, and "every animal in the world." There are no words to describe how devastated we feel as parents to now have two children who fight cancerous brain tumors. The emotion that goes into dealing with such a traumatic future for your own child is simply heart breaking. But we will do our best to tell Abella what to expect with the example of Hudson, books and involving the Child Life specialists at CHLA. Abella and Hudson have been given a life no child should ever have and we struggle daily to understand the meaning behind all of this.
The road ahead is confusing, frustrating, and unimaginable but we promise to give these two the best possible life we can give. As all of you have followed Hudson's long journey to stability, we are only at the beginning stages for Abella but optimistic about her therapy. As for now her protocol will call for high dose chemotherapy over six months and oral chemotherapy over a longer period. She is intended to have three induction courses followed by three stem cell rescue courses to combat both of her tumors. We are prepared for the road ahead to be bumpy and we will do our best to make it smooth along the way.