In April 2011, McKenna?s daddy noticed that she had a knot in her abdomen area. We kept an eye on it only for a few days, and then we took her to the pediatrician. They immediately sent us to Scottish Rite (Children?s Healthcare of Atlanta) for tests. Once there, she had an x-ray and ultrasound to confirm that she had a tumor. The following day, she had a CT, which told us that it appears the tumor is contained in the liver and has not gone to other organs?which is a good thing. After a liver biopsy, McKenna was diagnosed with having Stage 3 Hepatoblastoma. This is a very rare cancer than affects approximately 100 children in the US each year, so the doctors do not know very much about it. The treatment plan was for her to receive 3-4 rounds of chemo, have a liver transplant and then receive follow-up chemo to ?clean-up? anything that might still be lingering.
Chemo was very hard on McKenna, including many major side effects of making her nauseous and not being able to hold anything down, getting mouth sores that were so bad she couldn?t swallow, low blood counts that made her very prone to infection, running several fevers, making several trips to the ER and severe bone pain when her counts would start to come back up towards the end of a chemo cycle. And, the latest side effect that we are working on now of moderate hearing loss in both ears due to the Cysplatin (chemo drug). In July 2011, McKenna received a liver transplant. She did amazingly well considering what a major surgery she had. And, following the liver transplant, she went through one more round of chemo. At this point, McKenna is considered to be cancer free and will continue to get monthly labs to monitor her tumor marker and quarterly scans to monitor from a visual perspective.
McKenna loves to watch Barney, play outside when it's nice and especially loves to play with her older sister, Samantha. Samantha and McKenna just recently became big sisters to Ryann and she is always giving her lots of hugs and kisses. She also enjoys feeding our two dogs, Daisy and Dash, their food and treats. McKenna has been AMAZING, to say the least, throughout this journey!! She has been a trooper from the very beginning and continues to be as we, as a family, fight this horrible disease with her. She is sure to bring a smile to anyone?s face!!