Mia Grace McDowell

5 Nov

This name may mean nothing more to you than a name you hear in a passing conversation.

But I’m about to tell you that that name is a name of a warrior.  A princess.  Mia Princess Warrior.
And I don’t know Miss Mia anymore than you do.  But she has touched my heart and I know she’ll inspire you as well…

Mia Grace – 2 weeks before diagnosis

On August 22, 2011 – when Mia Grace was just 16 months old she was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma tumor located on the left side of her abdomen.

Another picture of Miss Mia shortly before her diagnosis
Here’s her story:
It was a Monday morning (August 22nd) Mia’s mom and aunt were concerned about her having a dry diaper after 12 hours of sleep and a constant low grade fever for at least two weeks. They suspected she had a bladder infection so her mom took her to the pediatrician that afternoon.  It only took a few minutes for the doctor to notice a large mass on the left side of Mia’s abdomen.  She immediately sent her to get an ultrasound and after discussing the images with the radiologist, she sent Mia to OU Children’s Hospital.  Mia’s parents were informed immediately that the road ahead was most likely a fight with cancer and was going to be a long road.
Night Mia was admitted to OU Children’s Hospital
On August 25th, 2011:  Mia Grace had surgery to take a piece of the malignant tumor to study it.  They also installed a new port so that she could get rid of the IV for good.  The doctors and nurses will be able to use the port for Chemo treatments and blood draws.
The doctors confirmed Mia’s tumor was a Neuroblastoma.  It was the size of a grapefruit and growing fast.  At that time the tumor was at stage 3 because of the size but could graduate to stage 4 depending on Mia’s lymph nodes and bone marrow results.  Unfortunately, finding that type of tumor in an earlier stage is almost impossible – its called the “Silent Disease” since you don’t know its there until you can see it.
Mia before her first surgery.



Just after surgery



Mia’s Bone Marrow Procedure



August 26th:  It was confirmed Mia’s tumor is stage IV Neuroblastoma which has spread to her bone marrow and lymph nodes.

Monday, August 29th:  Round 1 of Chemotherapy started.  The fight and long battle starts.
Mia’s PreChemo Party
Tuesday, August 30th:  Treatment 2.
Wednesday, August 31st:  Treatment 3.  Dr advised Mia’s family the pathology results showed they weren’t diseased, they were just reacting.  Bones and Kidney’s looked good.  Bone Marrow was still diseased but her bones looked good.
Thursday, September 1st:  Treatment 4.  Chemo is starting to take a toll on the little princess.  She’s not able to keep anything down and the blue bags they keep putting on her face is really pissing her off!  On top of everything, Mia had an infection.  Next on the list for the day was a 4th blood transfusion. 
Friday, September 2nd:  Round 1 of Chemo done.  Mia: 5 … Chemo: 0
She was able to eat KFC mashed potatoes and gravy.  Highlight of the day other then the yummy food …. her bedtime cruise in her racecar down the halls.
Mia and her entourage
Saturday, September 3rd:  Mia was told she’ll have to wait until she’s eating better before she can go home.  She was given another transfusion and the Dr advised her family she could be “hep blocked” – which meant she wouldn’t be connected to her pole or any IV fluids anymore … which also meant: FREEDOM! 

By 11:00 pm Mia had been eating MUCH better: Mashed potatoes, gravy, popcorn, pizza and popsicles – you GO girl!!  She was given a Neupogen shot in the thigh inwhich she always has to have 10-14 days post chemo to rebuild her white blood cell count. But it does earn her a really cool bead on her necklace…

Mia’s Beads of Courage

Sunday, September 4th:  Mia was able to go home!!  Her parents constantly have to watch to make sure she doesn’t get a fever and she is eating and drinking.
Her “levels” dropped from 3800 to only about 350 in a day or two so she’s considered “neutropenic” (which means she can’t fight off any type of infection and can’t be around too many people. (And the ones sbe is around have to bathe in sanitizer constantly)).  Her levels will drop even closer to zero over the next few days but hopefully they’ll be back on the rise by Friday (this is why she has to have a shot in the thigh every night). For now she’s just trying to get her strength back – She used to be a great walker but its too dangerous to go anywhere by herself right now and that irritates her.

Various days throughout September Mia will have many blood tests to find out when Round 2 of Chemo will start.
Thursday, September 15th, 2011:  Mia is a big sister!!!  Welcome to the world little Max!

The same week Mia’s hair started falling out (less than two weeks from starting Chemo).  It was decided to shave her head to avoid the itchiness.
Monday, September 19th:  Round 2 of Chemo.
It was also determined Mia has the amplified gene which officially makes her Neuroblastoma “stage IV high risk”.  Disappointing, but they had already started a “high risk” plan for her treatment the course will stay the same.  Mia’s doctor did seem to be impressed at how her tumor was “feeling different”.  Mia’s family also met with the Bone Marrow transplant team as well.
If you gotta be in the Chemo Clinic … you might as well roll in style!
Saturday, September 24th:  Round 2 of Chemo DONE.  Mia: 10 …. Chemo: 0   8th blood transfusion.  Highlight of the day = opening the mail.  LOTS of cards and packages from friends and family.
September 29th:  Mia’s bracelets are in!  Your choice of pink or gray.  If you want one, send me an email and I’ll give you contact information.
Friday, September 30th:  Clinic report showed still severely neutropenic but her numbers are on the rise. 
October:  Mia was been approved for Bone Marrow “harvest“. 
Tuesday, October 11th:  The doctors harvested enough bone marrow in just one session (originally thought 3-4).  What’s more amazing …. the nurse that did the harvest had been doing it for 11 years and said she had only seen that happen ONE time.  However, the harvest didn’t necessarily go as planned.  Read about it here (you may have to register with Caring Bride but it’s well worth it to read the updates on Mia’s progress).
October 17th:  CT scan and MIBG test shows the tumor had shrunk 54% and that all the lesions that were on Mia’s bones were completely gone.  6 weeks ago they were told that her bones looked good – they found out today that that was incorrect.  Her bones were actually covered in “lesions” as Dr. Sexaeur called them – but Mia’s two rounds of chemo had wiped them out.
Round 3 of Chemo started.   Chemo Scorecard – Mia: 14 ….. Chemo: 0
Results from the latest scan showed:
At the time of Mia’s diagnosis she had 5% disease on her left side and 5% on her right side.  The new results show absolutely no disease on her left and less than 1% on her right (or vise versa, not sure).
Tuesday, October 25th:  Mia’s first TV debut!!!  It’s to help the Ronald McDonald House Charities promote the new Christmas cookbook fundraiser.
October 31st:  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Miss Mia was a Monk.  She probably has the coolest parents ever!

November 3rd:  Clinic results showed numbers are up and Miss Mia can start Round 4 of Chemo next week.  But right now …. her time is being spent with her family.

~~~~~~~~~~
To keep track of Mia kicking cancer’s ASS … follow her story here and you can also become her friend on Facebook.
If you’d like to buy a bracelet, send me an email and I’ll get you the contact information you need.  She is keeping a scrapbook of everyone wearing her bracelets so make sure you send her a picture as well.

You can post a button to your blog to link your followers to Mia’s website on CaringBridge by grabbing the following button:

Caring Bridge - Mia McDowell
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/miamcdowell" title="Caring Bridge - Mia McDowell"><img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/24m8fiw.jpg" alt="Caring Bridge - Mia McDowell" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Keep on keepin’ on Miss Mia!  You’re a blessing!!
————-
Keep Mia and her family in your thoughts and prayers. 
Deuteronomy 31:6   Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
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