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, within a week she had double vision and her right eye would not track past the center point. Ten days into this, we were advised to take her to the ER. By that time her head was throbbing, and her RT eye was protruding and swollen. That was the point that changed Halee's life for good. The dr. did a preliminary exam and sent her to CT and then for an MRI. We knew instinctively that there was something wrong from that point. The dr. met us as we came back from the MRI and informed us that Halee has a tumor behind her RT eye and she would have to be transferred to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fl. On Friday, May 4, 2012 we got the final diagnosis of Stage 3 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. This is a rare cancer, only 350 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 this week.
I am a single mom and had to quit working as a hair stylist to be with Halee for her treatments. We do not have insurance and though the hospital is doing all they can to cover costs and get her on medicaid, there are still daily out of pocket expences for medication and just being so far from home.