Our whole world changed on July 22, 2023, two weeks after Emmalyn’s second birthday. Her stomach had been bloated recently and I thought she was constipated. Her legs were also getting chunkier which I chalked up to her gaining weight well. We had even seen her primary doctor three weeks earlier for her annual check-up. Her exact words were, “She looks amazing”.

On July 22, I took Emmy into Urgent Care thinking they would take an x-ray, give me some stool softener, and send us home, but I was wrong. I could tell the nurse was worried. The provider came in and told me to take Emmy into the emergency room to make sure that there was not an obstruction in her belly. At the emergency room, we waited almost an hour for a room but upon triage, her vitals were great so the nurse told me not to worry.

“Promise?” I asked. She looked at me and said, “I can’t promise anything.”

After the doctor examined Emmy, ultrasound came in and took pictures of her belly. I tried to look at the monitor as she guided her wand across my daughter, but quickly gave up because I had no idea what I was looking at.

The doctor and nurse came in together and told me that they found a tumor that was assumed to be a “common cancer” in Emmalyn’s age group and that he had already been in contact with the oncologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado and they advised a chest X-ray which showed that Emmy had bilateral pleural effusions, or fluid on both of her lungs.

We waited eight hours at the Medical Center of the Rockies for an ambulance to escort Emmy to Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, we had to syringe feed her apple juice that contained dye for the CT scan.

Early the next morning, we were admitted to the oncology floor where we would meet numerous medical professionals who would explain to us the next steps such as biopsy, port placement, and possible treatment.

Less than 48 hours later, Emmalyn went into surgery but did not come back to her room on the oncology floor, she was admitted to the PICU due to being ventilated. She would spend the next couple of weeks in the PICU, back on the Oncology floor for a night, then back in the PICU due to her hemoglobin dropping.

Emmy was finally stable enough to be on the oncology floor and quickly bounced back to where we would be able to go home for a few days before coming back for her second cycle of chemo.

On July 26th, the biopsy showed that Emmalyn has high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma.

To date, Emmy has received five cycles of chemotherapy, fertility preservation, MIBG treatment, and tumor resection, and she is responding amazingly to all treatments. She will receive back-to-back bone marrow transplants from her own cells, radiation, and immunotherapy.

Emmalyn has been fighting hard and making it look effortless. She is truly a warrior.