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Annabell

Age 19 Months

Annabell underwent surgery to remove a tumor on November 24th, 2023. Two days prior, on November 20th, she experienced morning vomiting. Her doctor initially dismissed it and suggested waiting a day to see if her condition improved. The following morning, when Annabell wouldn't wake up, a STAT CT scan was immediately ordered, revealing a large (10 cm) mass on her left brain.


Following a conversation with their neurosurgeon, Annabell's parents drove her to Salt Lake City for surgery. It was the quietest and scariest 550 mile car ride.


After the initial surgery, Annabell returned home to Montana while awaiting biopsy results. On December 4th, 2023, the oncologist confirmed a diagnosis of ATRT. Second opinions were sought regarding diagnosis and treatment. Ultimately, they opted for the treatment course offered by St. Jude's, which their oncologist agreed to implement at Primary Children's Hospital. Annabell became the first child at the hospital to receive this specific treatment regimen, SJYC07, as they typically use the ACNS0333 protocol.


Annabell endured four rounds of chemotherapy. During induction, she unfortunately contracted both rotavirus and rhinovirus on day one of her first cycle. This resulted in a month-long struggle with constant diarrhea and vomiting, where multiple blood and electrolyte transfusions were necessary. A CT scan, prompted by the low platelet count, identified two areas of tumor regrowth and a brain bleed. A second surgery was scheduled for January 11th. To stop the bleeding, her platelet threshold was raised to 100,000, necessitating over fifty platelet transfusions.


The second surgery was successful, with the neurosurgeon estimating a 98-100% removal of the tumor. He believed it had likely regrown in the 28 days between the initial surgery and the start of chemotherapy. Subsequent chemotherapy rounds were smoother. The second round found her still testing positive for rotavirus and C. difficile, requiring continued contact precautions and isolation. She had to relearn how to walk and take extreme care to avoid head injuries. Talk about a parent’s nightmare!


The final two rounds were infection-free, and Annabell enjoyed cruising the halls in her pink car, greeting the nurses. She completed her final round in mid-April and began proton radiation therapy at The Huntsman Cancer Institute on April 25th. This radiation treatment consists of 28 sessions.


Following radiation, Annabell will have her central line removed and enjoy a four-week break. They will then return to Salt Lake City for an MRI scan, followed by six months of alternating cycles of daily oral chemotherapy.

Annabell
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