In October 2012, Caroline complained of her right forearm hurting. It didn’t look any different and later in the day she said it didn’t hurt any more. A few weeks later, she complained again with the same results. For the third time, in late November, she complained that her arm hurt. We were in the bathroom, getting her ready for school. I told her to pick up the bottle of sunscreen and asked if that hurt. She said yes. I then had her hold a box of bandaids and she said that didn’t hurt. I was more concerned so I made an appointment with her dr. He listened and then took a look at her arm. He thought her right forearm was slightly larger than her left so he sent us for an X-ray. That X-ray showed changes in the bone which were most consistent with a bone infection though he warned me that malignancy was a possibility.
Caroline had an mri the very next day, Friday November 30. The results from the mri still seemed to point to a bone infection. Our dr told us that we would need to meet with a pediatric orthopedist and get treatment.
The following Monday, her pediatrician called me. He was concerned that while the mri looked like a bone infection- there was no sign of infection in her blood work. He said it could still be a malignancy. He sent us to Phoenix to get a bone biopsy done with a specialist. We met with the specialist on Tuesday and she had a surgical biopsy done on Wednesday- less than a week since I had first taken her to the doctor.
We got the call Friday, December 7, 2012 that it was not a bone infection. It was cancer. A type of bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.
After x-rays, a bone scan, chest CT, and PET scan it was found that Caroline’s cancer is localized in her arm. None of her scans showed evidence of cancer anywhere else. This was the best possible news and gives us the best possible prognosis.
We chose to enroll Caroline in a medical study being done for patients with localized Ewing’s. It involves adding a different chemo drug to the standard protocol to try and prevent recurrence of the cancer. Caroline is on the experimental branch of the study so she is getting another chemotherapy in addition to the ones included in the standard protocol of treatment. Our hope is that this will give her an even better chance of never having a recurrence.
Caroline has undergone 14 cycles of chemo and major surgery to remove the tumor in her arm. She still has 3 more cycles of chemo left. She has spent over 100 days in the hospital and missed almost a year of school. Caroline is incredibly brave and caring. Our hope is that she will be cancer free at the end of this treatment.