Removing the Tumor

While Santa traveled the earth on Christmas Eve, mom and dad had to rush little Angelina to the hospital because of a sudden fever caused by her last chemo treatment. Worried they wouldn’t spend Christmas morning in the warmth and comfort of their own home, they bought a second, smaller tree–dazzled with its own lights and decor (much like the one from A Charlie Brown’s Christmas special) for their hospital room.

Just before night fell on Christmas eve, doctors gave the family the okay to go home. After hearing the great news, Angelina’s brother Gio (who was staying with an uncle) was more enthusiastic than all of Santa’s dancing elves combined.

Luigi, Diana, Gio and Angelina got to enjoy one another together at home, and that is a splendid gift to have during this still difficult season in Angelina’s life.

Physically, little Angelina has been seriously weak, as the chemo has struck a hard blow to her immune system. Mom and dad have had to allow only  a few visitors at a time, and even they have been required to sanitize themselves before hugging the family, especially Angelina.

Thankfully, an EKG test performed on Thursday, December 29, revealed that the chemotherapy has not negatively affected her little heart. An audiology test, though, showed she had moderate hearing loss in both ears due to certain chemo she received.

She will need hearing aids.

Although feeble and delicate–even in speech–Angelina stays positive through it all. Although she can’t necessarily jump around laughing at her brother’s jokes, she giggles from the couch with new Christmas gifts in hand.

Doctors intend on surgically removing Angelina’s tumor within the next two weeks. After this, she’ll undergo at least one more round of chemo, the return of her stem cells (taken from her at the beginning this horror), two weeks of radiation and her immunotherapy–a painful treatment that will require a morphine drip.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT. WE WILL NEED IT EVEN MORE IN THE MONTHS AHEAD.

AND WE REALLY WANT to DANCE WITH YOU ALL AT THE DINNER DANCE! BE THERE!

Round 5 & Thanksgiving

On Friday, Angelina finished and conquered round five! She’s doing exceedingly well, dancing and singing and preparing for the Little Angelina Dinner Dance.

Since the family was with her all week, we were privileged to spend our Thanksgiving with Angelina in her hospital room. This was no pity party! We had a ball as Angelina leaped around her bed to endow us with her kisses and laughter. Gio, her older brother, enjoyed playing Wii with a few other kids his age. And the whole family scarfed down a scrumptious, home-cooked meal.

Although we’re reminded every day of Angelina’s life what we’re thankful for, we wanted to share with you some bullet points.

1 – We are thankful for God. Without his mindful, intentional comfort and oversight, we would be frantic, never truly knowing that everything will be okay. Jesus is our help in times of trouble.

2 – We are thankful for Angelina’s life. Many children who have suffered with neuroblastoma have unfortunately not made it through. Angelina is still licking on. She is doing well and doctors intend on removing the tumor soon.

3 – We are thankful for close friends and family, without whom our individual paranoia, doubts and concerns would be too burdensome to handle alone.

4 –  We are thankful for financial, practical and prayerful support from YOU. One of our initial and great fears was the mounting healthcare costs for Angelina, but with a humble website, Facebook page and fundraiser, YOU continue to amaze and surprise us with your continued generosity and promotional help.

WE WANT TO MEET YOU ALL AND SEE YOU AT THE LITTLE ANGELINA DINNER DANCE.

Please come and party hard with us! Spread the word on Facebook.

Round Four & Your Help

Photo Credit: Lifting the Veil Productions
Crocheted Hat Credit: Rebekah Rovetto
Art Piece Credit: Steve D’Arbenzio

Angelina had tons of fun this past month. With the Little Angelina Sforza Art Exhibition, the Family Fun Run and The Lion King screening, there’s been plenty to do, which we don’t regret in the least!

Coming soon, there’s a benefit rock concert for Angelina, which we’d encourage you all to attend.

Our most pressing need, though, are the ticket sales of our Little Angelina Dinner Dance on February, 24, 2012. We strongly desire to end this cancer horror with a happy and robust and dancing bang! We want to celebrate Angelina’s victory with you, as well as cover as much of the treatment’s final costs.

PLEASE BUY & SELL TICKETS, AS WELL AS PROMOTE AND ATTEND ANGELINA’S DINNER DANCE.

We could not have started this without you, and we can’t wait to finish strong with you.

As for our princess, she ended her fourth round of chemotherapy on November 11. With not nearly as much vomiting, Angelina’s energies were surprisingly high—even with a low blood count. Mom and Dad are doing well, also. And Angelina’s big and loving brother, Gio, is learning to crochet, ultimately hoping to make the coolest crocheted toys, as well as a cute hat for Angelina to wear at the Dinner Dance.

THANK YOU for your continued donations and support. We seriously look forward to February 24, 2012!

Round Three & Angelina’s “Tubie”

It’s been approximately two months since doctors brought to light the dark truth that little Angelina had a deadly tumor growing inside of her.

For review, after enduring a heart-breaking three weeks of initial examining and probing, days of nervously awaiting test results and seeing Angelina as sad as she’s ever been, we finally saw her smile after eating her first bite of fresh pizza. She soon stood over the side of her bed to color magnificent art pieces. And within a week (now at about four weeks), she was running and licking and screaming for joy, as the pain seriously subsided.

As bubbly as she now is, round three of her chemotherapy treatment was the most trying for her, since it physically weakened Angelina, causing her to vomit here and there. Thankfully, she did not return to the wrecked emotional state of her first three weeks; she smiled and calmly knew it’s just part of the process.

It took about four days after round three for her to feel restored, and a blood transfusion she had on Tuesday, October 18, definitely helped.

At home, she is becoming more familiar with cleaning the central line (her “tubie”) in her chest, which needs changing once a week. Angelina has been practicing changing her tubie on a play duck, whose chest also has a catheter, and she loves to show people how to take medicine through the syringe.

Lately, she’s enjoyed The Mask, The Lion King and singing “You are so beautiful to me,” from The Little Rascals.

THANK YOU for all your help, funding and support. PLEASE continue to share little Angelina’s story. Get your friends to like her Facebook page and to attend her benefits.

 

A Shrunken Tumor & Pumpkin Picking

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Growing up, any uninformed child might think (I did) a “CT scan” is literally where a house cat inspects one’s body (perhaps by licking or sniffing). Of course this is not the case. Computed tomography scanning is where X-ray gadgets and apparatuses are used to produce three-dimensional images of subjects.

Earlier with CT scanning, doctors confirmed that the pain in Angelina’s abdomen—visibly showing itself with a swelled belly—was an 11 cm tumor.

Today, doctors told us that the latest CT scan revealed this vile tumor has actually shrunk in size by half! On top of this excellent news, the cancer is still contained!

And what better way to respond to good news than with pumpkin picking, cutting and eating?! Dad, mom, Gio and Angelina had a downright blast yesterday at Demarest Farms, where they harvested the choicest pumpkins and mounted the most stylish hay rides in town.

We thank God for his continued mercy and love on our family. We thank you for your continued support and gifts.

And we look forward to seeing you all at the many events we’re hosting for Angelina, especially the dinner dance (make sure you SAVE THE DATE!).