Halee was a 17 junior in high school who excelled in AP and Honors classes with straight A's when she was diagnosed with Stage III Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS). In April 2012, Halee began complaining of headaches and blurred vision. Within a few days, her condition began to deteriorate and she was seen by an optometrist who put her on antibiotics. She continued to get worse and within a week she had double vision and her right eye would not track past the center point. Ten days into this, we were at church and had a nurse look at her and were advised to take her to the ER. By that time her head was throbbing, and her right eye was protruding and swollen.
That was the point that changed Halee's life for good. The doctor did a preliminary exam and sent her to CT and then for an MRI. The doctor met us as we came back from the MRI and informed us that Halee has a tumor behind her right eye and she would have to be transferred to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl. Within an hour we were transported by ambulance and admitted through their ER department to 42 ped's, the cancer unit.
We made our new home here at Shands on Monday, April 30, 2012. That week was test after test, biopsies, scans, and a constant flow of doctors in and out to determine what the tumor is and how to treat her for it. On Friday, May 4, 2012 we got the final diagnosis of Stage 3 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. This is a rare cancer, only 250 cases reported per year, and she has the more aggressive type, Alveolar vs. Embryonal. But just like Halee, her cancer is unique in that the ARMS is located in her head instead of her extremities, making it impossible to treat with surgery.
She began a 43 week regimen of chemo and radiation to treat her ARMS May 1. We are thankful that God has blessed us with such a strong and independent girl, her attitude is encouraging through all of this. We know that God can do miracles and He is already demonstrating His grace and mercy. Please keep Halee and the entire medical team here at Shands and our team at home at Nemours Children’s Clinic in your prayers.
**UPDATE** Halee completed her chemo treatment in May 2013. June 4, 2013 Halee was diagnosed with Severe Hypercalcemia, a rare complication of childhood cancer. We are still undergoing tests to find out how she got it.
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