20 Months Old at Diagnosis
Jennifer knew something wasn’t right with her daughter, Ava. First, there were months of fevers, with Ava crying out at night. She was also suffering from anemia that didn’t improve despite high doses of iron supplements. When Jennifer brought Ava to the doctors, they felt a mass in her abdomen.
The family’s worst fears were confirmed when Ava was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer. Doctors determined that the tumor was too large to operate on, so the family traveled to the children’s hospital in Cincinnati. There, doctors performed a biopsy and confirmed the diagnosis.
When Ava received her first round of chemotherapy, she had an allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis. Her doctors had to stop treatment and rethink their plan. Luckily, her doctors were able to adjust the treatment so that she could tolerate it without further allergic reactions. In June of 2014, just 2 days before her 2nd birthday, Ava underwent a 13 hour liver resection. Doctors removed 70% of her liver and her gallbladder. After completing the surgery, Ava endured 6 additional weeks of chemotherapy.
Ava had her last dose of chemotherapy on July 31.
While treatment is done, Ava is still battling the side effects of treatment. She has high blood pressure and has high-frequency hearing loss. Throughout it all, Ava has been an inspiration to those around her. She has smiled and faced each new step of treatment with bravery. Now, she is enjoying being an outgoing 2-year-old who loves playing with her sister and exploring new things every day.
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