On July 16, 2013, our worst fears came true. We found out that our son, Lucas, had a mass on his liver. What began as a trip to the hospital for a high fever turned into a week-long visit with test after test to arrive at the diagnosis: it was cancer. Lucas was diagnosed with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer.
Most common in adults, HCC is found in only 0.7 per 1 million children and is considered extremely rare in those under the age of 5. Unfortunately, HCC does not respond well to any known chemotherapy and, in most cases, patients end up needing a transplant. Our doctors don't know why Lucas has this as he doesn't fit any of the categories of children who are most likely to develop HCC.
To know that you are helpless to your own child is an understatement. You can't even imagine all the things that cross your mind when you find out that your baby has a rare and possibly fatal disease and you can't make it go away.
Our doctors decided it would be best to start with chemotherapy to see if it might help shrink the tumor, and Lucas began treatment at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo the following week. They put a Broviac Line in his chest which is used to give him medicines, fluids, nutrients, blood transfusions, and to draw blood. (It is designed for long-time use so that many painful needle sticks can be avoided.)
After the first round of chemo, Lucas was able to come home but he soon developed a fever over 100 and we were right back at Children's. This time our stay lasted 17 days. The chemo made him so sick, completely wiping him out to where he needed a couple blood transfusions as well as a platelet transfusion. He had no appetite and lost his ability to walk as well. They ended up putting Lucas on a TPN bag that would provide him nutrients as well as vitamins. It helped improve his energy and he started to eat again. He also started to walk again.
In the meantime, the doctors did another biopsy on the tumor and began the process of applying to other hospitals so we could get accepted for a possible transplant. It was during this process that we received the most exciting and positive news. On August 21, we found out that Boston Children's has accepted us and the wonderful Dr. Kim is going to evaluate Lucas to see if surgery to take the mass out might be possible (in lieu of a transplant).
We left for Boston on September 2 and will stay through September 4 for testing and to meet with the team of doctors. Through an amazing organization called Wings Flights of Hope, we were able to fly together as a family at no cost to us. (Wings Flights of Hope is run solely by volunteer pilots who provide families in need of free air transportation for medical and humanitarian purposes.) While in Boston for this initial visit, we are staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and they have been so wonderful to us as well.
We are excited and hopeful as we await the results of the most recent round of tests. We plan to use this webpage to keep everyone posted on Lucas' treatment and road to recovery and will post updates regularly.
We greatly appreciate any support, love and prayers for Lucas as he battles for his life.
We also appreciate any monetary donation you are willing to give to help out with the medical expenses that we will incur on this journey as they are above and beyond what we are able to manage.
XOXO - Missy, Pat, Bella and Lucas
Please consider sharing this page with your friends via Facebook, Twitter and/or Email as we appreciate any and all support we can get! The links to share are located on the right of the webpage. Thanks in advance!
- Online donations can be made by clicking on the 'Give Now' button near the top right of this webpage. Online donations are made through a secure online service called WePay and are deposited directly into the Love4Lucas account.
- Donations can also be sent via Mail to: Melissa Andrasik, 865 Pletcher Road, Youngstown, NY 14174 (*Please make checks payable to Melissa Andrasik, and indicate in the subject line that it is for Love4Lucas)