When Anastacia was just five years old, she had already come through 2 ½ years of treatment to survive a diagnosis of High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She had a remarkable recovery and over the course of the next couple of years she returned to the normal routines of elementary school life and extracurricular activities like her beloved dance classes.
Off treatment for three years, Anastacia was on the verge of being transferred to the care of the Long-Term Follow-up team. When she complained of a sore back one day in February 2017, Chynna figured Anastacia must have done something to it in dance class. To say she was shocked to find a large protrusion on her daughter’s spine was an understatement. She immediately took her to the emergency department at the Alberta Children’s Hospital where it was soon determined that Anastacia had a cancerous tumour growing just 1mm away from her spinal column. It was so hard to believe that she could be facing cancer again?!
With a diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma (a completely unrelated cancer to her first diagnosis), Anastacia began another course of chemotherapy treatment to shrink the tumour. In July 2017, Anastacia underwent an extensive full-day operation with four surgical specialists to remove the tumour that remained. Due to the difficult location of the mass, the operation was one that not many surgeons would attempt. Thanks to their incredible expertise and diligence, they were able to remove it all and get clear margins. This was an important accomplishment since it meant that Anastacia could avoid radiation – something that would be particularly harmful to that location in her body.
With the tumour removed, Anastacia continued her chemotherapy until the end of October 2017. The last few months of treatment were especially hard on her as the cumulative effects of the powerful medications built up in her body. Thankfully, since the end of treatment, Anastacia is getting stronger and is pleased to see her hair start growing back. She fully intends to let it grow as long as possible!
While treatment is behind her, Anastacia will be closely followed by the team at the hospital for years to come. They are awaiting results from genetic testing which will hopefully give some clues as to why Anastacia has already faced two cancer battles. Chynna and Anastacia are forever grateful for the incredible care and support they have received from the team here at the hospital…not just once but twice!
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