*MARLIE IS 7 MONTHS INTO HER BATTLE WITH CANCER. DOCTORS ADVISE SHE WILL BE APPROXIMATELY 2 MORE YEARS FIGHTING. WE NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET. WE VERY MUCH APPRECIATE ALL DONATIONS BIG OR SMALL. EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!*
This is the story of Marlie Dowe D’Andrade, the 2 year old daughter of Shelley and Sean and her battle with leukemia. The following is an account of some of the many challenges Marlie and her family face daily, as related by her mother:
To give a very slight glimpse into what life has been for the past 8 months:
Twice, we have been in the ICU with Marlie close to death. The first time was when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). The day she was diagnosed she received chemo in her spinal fluid, a bone marrow test, lumbar puncture, hemoglobin, platelet transfusions and had surgery to put a pick line in her chest. This was followed by 3 days of steroids in the Intensive Care Unit and then a course of chemo. She contracted mouth sores as a side effect from the chemo and had severe damage to her skin on her chest from a reaction to the dressings over her pick line. Due to her mouth sores, the need for transfusions, infections and fevers, we ended up living in the hospital for 40 days.
After this first stay we were home for about a week and then back in the hospital for another 10 days while Marlie received her next phase of chemo. Then we had another break for a few weeks before going to the Oncology Clinic weekly. During one of our visits, her pick line was accessed and when they flushed the line it brought bacteria directly into her heart and blood stream. Within an hour Marlie went from a happy playful child to a little girl in the emergency room, septic, close to death, with numerous doctors and nurses working to stabilize her. She had emergency surgery to remove the pick line and replace it with a port. We ended up staying in the hospital for 2 weeks while Marlie fought the infection and started the next phase of chemo. This phase included 2 weekly sedations, lumbar punctures with chemo injected into her nervous system for 3 weeks.
Life with a child with ALL is very hard, we are constantly monitoring her temperature because a fever could mean an infection, and when her counts are down, it can be fatal. There is also a chance that due to her weekly leg needles she receives she could get a blood clot (30% of children do), and because of the different meds she is on, her bones could also lose density and be more prone to damage. When her counts are low and she is neutrapenic, (about 50% of the time), she cannot go out in public, we cannot have visitors unless they are perfectly healthy adults, and it is strongly recommended that no children visit Marlie.
After she receives her weekly leg needles, she is usually lethargic, whiny, clingy and generally feeling awful for a few days. Every third week she receives a list of chemo through her port line. This chemo makes her feel sick, and gives her extremely painful mouth sores. Our little girl can hardly eat for a week and ends up on morphine to control her pain. Every time Doctors access her port there is the fear that she will go septic again due to bacteria being forced back into her blood stream.
During the weeks when our daughter receives chemo and goes on steroids, life is even more difficult. She is in constant pain for a week to 10 days, crying, saying it hurts, whining, clinging, lethargic, and is awake all day and night.
Another side effect from her chemo, she has issues with her legs. She has pain, pins and needles and cannot lift her left foot properly when walking. When her legs are bothering her, she can’t tell us exactly what the issue is (because of her age) or where it hurts but she will grab her leg and start crying. She will be fine for a few days, and then all of a sudden, she will be limping and holding her leg or her leg will collapse.
Marlie is an incredible little girl. Even at her worse, she tries very hard to play and be engaged in daily life. When we were first in the hospital, her legs were very weak from not walking and from chemo. Even though she was very weak and tired, we would go for daily walks around the hospital with her pushing a baby walker. She became very well known throughout the ward because she would wave and talk to all of the other kids as we passed their rooms.
At the clinic, she is known for trying food from all of the other kids, hugging, and being involved in any games going on. She loves to collect her bravery beads and accosts the Child Life Worker as soon as she sees her to get her most recent beads. She loves dancing, being chased, and even when she is feeling awful, she wants to be taken to the park to swing. She insists on being "in charge" of the adults when we are playing games and makes sure everyone gets involved and has a turn. Marlie's positive energy helps us get through some very difficult days. Her humor and giggles are contagious, and her snuggles and hugs are the most heartwarming thing in our day.
Marlie continues treatment, one day at a time, at home with her parents and at McMaster’s Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario Canada.
Please help us take the financial stress away while Marlie’s family work on getting their little girl better.
Every little bit counts, if you cannot donate, please help us spread the word of Marlie’s charity by emailing or posting our link online: http://igg.me/p/239490?a=1412931