I’d love for you to meet Hazel. This little girl is ADORABLE and so sweet. Just like Jonny and Kylie, I don’t know Hazel, but I’m just sure she’s super sweet. I mean, look at her smile! Her parents call her their Hazelnut. Hazel lives in California with her parents and 4 siblings. She has battled and BEAT Cancer twice! I pray she doesn’t have to go through that again.
On April 17th, 2013, 2 year old Hazel began complaining about “owies” she had. Since she was only 2 years old, she couldn’t communicate exactly what hurt or where, but over the next few days, her mom noticed she was in pain on and off, more tired than usual and she lost her once ravenous appetite. Lauren, Hazel’s mom, says at that point she told her husband that her “mommy instincts are going crazy”.
A few days later, when the symptoms didn’t subside, Lauren took Hazel to the pediatrician. After many tests, doctors discovered a sold mass growing inside her abdomen. It was the sizeof a lime, which on a tiny 2 year old body is big! Her doctors couldn’t tell them what the mass was, so they were sent to Children’s Hospital where she had a CT scan. The CT scan and urine test confirmed the worst. Not only was the size of the mass more like a MELON but it was cancer. The pain she was in was from the tumor pushing on Hazel’s kidney and encroaching on her liver.
Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma at just 2 years old. She endured 6 cycles of grueling chemotherapy, a 7 hour tumor resection surgery, a stem cell transplant that nearly took her life and landed her in the ICU for three weeks, weeks in rehab doing physical, occupational and speech therapy, 20 doses of radiation, and 6 months of Immunotherapy. Once that was all completed, Hazel was declared NED, or No Evidence of Disease! As you can imagine, this was celebrated news! They were all thrilled, but as with most childhood cancers, the chances of relapse are high.
Devastatingly, just as Hazel was going to start Kindergarten in August 2016, she relapsed. Doctors found three new neuroblastoma tumors- in her abdomen and neck. She began new treatment in November and has thankfully been diagnosed NED again! We can only pray that she continues to have clear scans and beat this beast called cancer for good!
As you can imagine, being a parent of a child who has cancer is very emotional. Lauren has blogged a lot about the deep depression and anxiety she has felt during these very trying times. I have to believe that if your child has relapsed once, relapse again isn’t too far from one’s mind. It’s hard for me to imagine dealing with all of this, and still having to parent your other children, meet other commitments, make dinner, and keep a clean house and all the other things that adults have to do. Lauren said a few months back, “We are tired. We are weary. Our faith is shaken. Our brains are depleted. And cancer just doesn’t let up. IT JUST NEVER GETS EASIER.”
This has been a really long road for Hazel and her family but I hope the waters calm down for her family soon. They all need a break.
Please keep Hazel and her family in your prayers. If you want to follow her journey, here is the link to her blog.