Karalyn is 11 years old and in 5th grade. She is an amazing soccer player and scores at almost every game she plays. She also loves to dance and really wishes she could sing! She came home from school one day with the left side of her neck swollen and after 2 antibiotics, 2 trips to the emergency room, and multiple visits with both the pediatrician and ENT, we finally convinced a doctor to do a biopsy of her walnut sized lymph node. On September 11, 2018, we got the phone call that she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 2A. Her cancer is in both sides of her neck and the top of her chest. She went through 6 chemo treatments, each consisting of 4 different chemo medications. She then had a progress scan where we were assured her cancer would be gone. We were told she had a 75% chance of being cancer free at that point. Unfortunately Karalyn was part of the 25% because her cancer was not gone. They recommended 2 more chemo treatments and radiation. She had the additional chemo but was unable to have radiation. Since her cancer was in 3 areas, proton therapy was ruled out as an option and high dose radiation would have been too risky. We’ve been told that since Karalyn is much younger than most Hodgkin’s patients, she carries a higher risk of it returning. Because she did not have radiation, she also only has a 50% cure rate beyond 5 years. Karalyn just recently had a progress scan which deemed her in remission, however, she did have 2 lymph nodes that were considered borderline because of how large they were. Because of that, they will scan Karalyn again on September 12 to see if those nodes have changed. Just yesterday we found yet another lymph node that was swollen. If her cancer returns, Karalyn will undergo an intense chemotherapy regimen followed by a stem cell transplant in hopes of curing her.
We were told this was an open and shut case, easy to treat, and had a 90% cure rate. Since that visit we have seen quite the opposite. Karalyn has kept such a positive attitude the entire time but its wearing on her so much. She has horrible anxiety now and almost daily panic attacks. She questions everything and worries about everything. “What if” is her main question. We have been praying so hard that her next scan is clear. I’m so afraid that she will lose some of that fight if it’s not.