When Madison, “Maddy”, was three-years-old, her parents picked her up from her learning center and were told that she was very tired because she played all day. They took her home, and went through their normal routine. She was very lethargic and didn’t want to eat. When it came time to give her a bath, Madison’s father, noticed that her stomach was larger than normal, causing her belly button to go from an “inny” to an “outy.” Her parents decided to let her sleep and go to the doctor the next day. The doctor prescribed some medication that morning, and told them to come back in the afternoon. By the time they took her back, Madison was crying out in pain about her leg and tummy hurting and running a fever of 104.
Madison’s doctor sent the family to Inova Fairfax Hospital with the assumption that her appendix was preparing to rupture. However, after a series of tests and scans, and ultimately surgery and biopsies, the unimaginable was confirmed; Madison was diagnosed with Stage IV High-Risk Neuroblastoma. The main tumor in Madison’s abdomen was the size of a melon, and was wrapped around her major organs and pressing on her right kidney which caused pain in her right leg. The cancer had also spread into her shoulders, legs, lower spine, bones and bone marrow.
Treatment began right away. Since her diagnosis on June 5, 2012, Madison has had countless surgeries, nine cycles of chemotherapy, a stem cell and bone marrow transplant, oncology radiation therapy, MIBG radiation therapy, and she just started antibody therapy which will run for six months, through February 2014.