It works! Please continually pray for the following:
That the Lord will lift up Karrie and give her the strength and stamina she needs to endure the entire process.
That the Lord will specifically direct the medication/drugs to the "bad" cells for maximum impact while minimizing the loss of good cells. Also, that this will cause the tumor and boney areas to shrink better and faster than the doctors expected.
That the Lord will protect all of Karrie's other organs from the potentially damaging effects of these treatments. Specific areas are kidney's, liver, heart and hearing to name a few.
That the Lord will make Karrie a miracle and restore her to good health.
That the Lord will raise Karrie up to be a living/surviving testimony to the power of prayer... and that she will be allowed to go about her life in a way that will bring continual glory to God.
There are not enough words to express our appreciation and gratitude for all the prayers lifted up on her behalf. Thank you for being a prayer warrior for Karrie.
Love in Christ, Mark, Amy, Steven and Karrie Dodez
Stay in touch:
Please understand that we may not always be able to talk at length or return all emails, but that we truly appreciate your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement.
•An account has been set up in Karrie's name to help the Dodez family with expenses as Karrie undergoes treatment for her cancer. To make a donation visit any FirstMerit Bank in Wayne County and reference the Karrie Dodez Fund. •Please consider giving blood as a way to help Karrie and the many other families fighting this battle. The gift of giving blood is appreciated more than you will ever know. Many people have asked about donating blood for Karrie. Please visit www.redcrossdonor.org for a lot of helpful information on donating blood. Make sure you check out the "top 10" reasons to donate blood and also the "top 10" excuses for not donating blood. The first step is to simply find a blood drive in your area and attend. It only takes an hour or so. We have contacted the American Red Cross and blood can not be donated specifically for Karrie, but please don't let this deter you from giving.
Karrie has had times when she’s needed quite a few platelet transfusions and this is where you can help. Many people don’t realize the need for aphaeresis (ay-fur-ee-sis) donations, which is where you only donate certain blood components – platelets, plasma, red cells, and white cells. You can do this by calling the Cleveland branch of the American Red Cross at 1-800-356-3339 and making an appointment at one of their sites. The closest site is on West Market Street in Akron across from Tangiers. Please mention Karrie’s name when you make the appointment and the family will be notified that you donated in her name.
You can give blood every 56 days and you can give platelet donations every 4 days.
This simple act of kindness is appreciated and needed more than you know.
The Cancer: Neuroblastoma
Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from nerve cells. Often tumors arise from branches of nerves that exit from the spinal cord. These branches reach many areas of the body, so tumors can be found in many different locations. In half of the cases the tumor is found in the abdomen, or belly, and usually involves the adrenal gland, which sits on top of the kidney. They can also be found in the head, chest, neck, or pelvis.
The tumor is located in Karrie’s abdomen and came from the adrenal gland.
If the tumor is located in the abdomen, the child’s belly may appear enlarged or bloated. If the bones are involved, there may be bone pain. Other general signs are loss of appetite, tiredness, minor aches and pains, and changes in bladder or bowel habits.
Karrie’s belly protruded considerably on the right side. She also had the above mentioned signs.
The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown. It is not contagious. Some infants are born with this cancer, suggesting it can occur while the unborn child’s nervous system cells are growing and maturing. In this case, the nerve cells remain immature and develop into neuroblastoma.
We did not do anything to cause the tumor nor could we have done anything to prevent it. The cells in her adrenal gland did not mature correctly and went bad.
It is the third most common type of cancer in children – however, its occurrence is still rare. About 600 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. 75% of all children with neuroblastoma are younger than 5 years old.
Karrie turned 3 years old on July 5th, 2005 and was diagnosed on July 12th.
No information supports that neuroblastoma is genetic or inherited from a family member. It is extremely rare to have more than one person with neuroblastoma in a family.
Steven has no more of a chance of getting this tumor than he does any other type of cancer. Other family members’ cancer did not make Karrie susceptible to getting neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma spreads very easily to lymph glands in the belly, bones, bone marrow, liver or the skin. It is called the silent tumor because 70% of children with the tumor already have spreading before any signs of the disease are noticed or diagnosed.
The tumor has spread to Karrie’s right knee and right wrist.
Staging is the process of determining the extent of the disease at the time of diagnosis. There are four stages and what stage determines the kind of treatment. As part of the staging, the tumor must be looked at underneath a microscope. If large numbers of a gene called MYCN or unfavorable Shimada classification features are found, the disease will be difficult to treat. Commonly seen with stage III and IV.
Karrie has been diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.
Stage 4: Tumor has spread from its original location to a distant area. MYCN is almost always present in large number and Shimada classification is usually unfavorable.
Test and procedures done to diagnose and determine extent of disease: * CAT scan or MRI – shows very precise pictures of internal organs and tumors * MIBG – a clear liquid injected into a vein and taken up by neuroblastoma tumor cells and is then detected by the nuclear scan when the substance lights up * Bone Scan – determines if the disease has spread to the bones * X-rays – complete skeletal and/or chest x-ray * Ultrasound – uses high frequency sound waves to look at internal body organs and detect tumors * Urine Test – Neuroblastoma tumors release a chemical called catecholamines * Blood Test – monitors blood cells, salts, and chemistries. CBC (complete blood cell) count looks at hemoglobin (anemia), white blood cells (infection fighters), and platelets (clotting) * Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy – only test that positively says if neuroblastoma cells are in the bone marrow or not * Tumor Biopsy – determines characteristics of the tumor and treatment needed
Karrie underwent all of the above-mentioned tests/procedures. X-rays showed an enlarged liver. Blood tests showed anemia and elevated white blood cell count. Ultrasound showed the tumor. Bone Marrow showed no neuroblastoma cells. (PRAISE THE LORD!) Tumor biopsy determined the stage IV and protocol Karrie would undergo. A double lumen central line was placed in Karrie’s chest the day after diagnosis.
Stage III and IV tumors are treated with induction chemotherapy, surgery, high dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem cell transplant, radiation therapy, and retinoic acid (type of vitamin A shown to decrease chance of recurring tumor). Surgery is done after tumor has shrunk from chemotherapy, because of the risk of injury during the surgery to organs to which the neuroblastoma may be attached.
Karrie will undergo cycle 1 & 2 chemotherapy, stem cell harvest, cycles 3, 4, & 5 of chemotherapy, resection surgery, cycle 6 of chemotherapy, high dose chemotherapy with peripheral blood stem cell transplant, radiation, and retinoic acid.
Feb 2006 to March 2010 Remission for 4 wonderful years!
2010 Karrie began with leg pain during spring break in March. X-rays, exams, crutches, casts, MRI, MIBG, etc led us to finding that the neuroblastoma has returned in the top of Karrie's right tibia. Her bone marrow again was clear. In May we began chemotherapy of topotecan and cytoxin for two rounds which included low counts and neutropenia for hospital stays. Scans showed little to no change. In July we started oral chemos, temozolomide and irenotecan. Our next step will likely be external radiation.