Erika P




Diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma

9-year-old Erika had been having headaches and trouble breathing through her nose. We had always been the type of parents that were not nervous about these kinds of things and knew it is nothing major and would soon pass. Her pediatrician prescribed antibiotics for 10 days. When that didn’t work, we tried antibiotic #2 for 10 more days. When that didn’t work, we went to an ENT specialist and tested her for allergies. She tested positive for trees and grass and the doctor noticed a polyp-like growth in her nose. We tried antibiotic #3 and a steroid which made her headache finally go away. Turned out it masked the symptom for a few days. Her headaches returned and got much worse.

We got frustrated and demanded we get to the bottom of the situation. Our pediatrician agreed and we had a CT scan done. It showed a massive tumor in Erika’s head behind her nose and eyes. The tumor quickly grew out of her nose and down towards her throat. Within 8 days, she had her biopsy, was diagnosed with a cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, and began chemo and radiation treatments. It has now been 7 months and she is responding to treatment as the MRIs have shown some shrinkage of the tumor. She no longer has headaches and can breathe partially through her nose. She is going to school (5th grade) and studies Japanese as well.  She will complete her chemotherapy at the end of January ’09. We plan to have a party with a Disco ball.

Erika has been so brave throughout this experience. We are very proud of her. We are also very proud of our 8-year-old son Ken. He has been kind to his sister and rarely complains about the lack of attention he has been getting. He has maintained all of his activities like swimming and soccer and enjoys school and studying Japanese (well, sometimes J).

They both enjoyed their Kids & Art experience very much! It’s an excellent program as it is indeed important to focus on the siblings as well as the patients.