"Mummy, it's not fair that children die. They are too little to go to heaven". Since Gosia got cancer, she keeps on asking more and more questions - "grown-up" ones, about life, being ill, death. Quite a few of her little friends from the oncology hospital passed away. Gosia reminds herself of them - she says "If I go to heaven, I'll meet them again..."
Gosia has just turned 6 years old. She spent her birthday in the hospital. When she blew the birthday cake candles, there was only one thought in my head – to make sure that this would not be her last birthday cake.
When you enter the oncology ward, holding your baby’s hand, it's a moment when you realize how happy your life was before the diagnosis. You squeeze this sweet, little hand and there is only one goal in your head – to take your baby home and never have to come back!
It was three years ago when we first arrived at the oncology department. My daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a highly malignant child cancer. A tumor in her belly was already big – 14 cm x 10 cm x 7,5 cm! It was as big as a large grapefruit. As the doctors were looking to confirm a diagnosis, the tumor grew stronger. The doctors initially thought that her lack of appetite and the pain in her belly was a psychological issue. Finally, the ultrasonogram confirmed the worse.
As a result, we were referred to the oncology department. Time was critical. We had to act as fast as possible, as every day increased the risk of death. Our then 3-year old baby had to start chemotherapy. When Gosia brushed her hair, with her colourful baby brush, her hair came out with each stroke. After a few rounds of chemotherapy, she looked exactly like the other kids from hospital – she was pale and exhausted, with her head totally bald. She was a shadow of her old self... At that moment, doctors decided that she had to undergo surgery. The tumor was successfully removed! There was finally light at the end of the tunnel. Additional radiotherapy was supposed to decrease the risk of relapse. We strongly believed we were leaving the hospital once and for all and would never have to come back.
We did though; a year later. Cancer gave us only a few months of peace. Gosia had a year of carefree childhood – without injections, without drips, without the smell of the hospital and the constant fear.
Gosia started having abdomen pains in December again. After what we had already gone through, we wanted to make sure that nothing had been missed. And so we went to A&E, where they told us it was just an infection. Nothing to worry about. In January, Gosia had tomography, which confirmed the worst deja vu of our lives. The tumor was back – this time on the right side on abdomen. It had managed to metastasize to the lymph nodes and the lungs. And again, we went through the oncology doors, even though we had been hopeful that we would never have to return.
The tumor wasn't as big as before, but because it was already a relapse, the treatment was much more intense. Gosia is older now and more aware. She asks questions and knows about the deadliness of cancer. She had seen her little friends disappear from the hospital – her “little angels” she had called them.
In February she underwent another operation. Following that, she underwent intense treatment. This time it was more invasive – 10 cycles of chemo, a bone marrow autograft and radiotherapy.
In her very short life, Gosia has been through 16 rounds of chemotherapy. There were days when she cried from pain. She wasn't able to swallow pills due to her burning esophagus and the wounds in her mouth. Cancer showed us again how cruel and merciless a disease it is, and how brutal it can be to everyone, even children..
There is a final, last phase of cancer treatment ahead of Gosia – immunotherapy with anti-GD2 antibodies in Greifswald's clinic in Germany. They have a long history of administering this type of treatment with many success stories. We've met children that came back from Germany cancer-free and we strongly believe it will be the same with Gosia. Unfortunately, we have to pay a tremendous price in advance. There is not much time left. This treatment is proven to be effective only 3 months after the autograft, which for us means November.
We went outside lately and visited the playground close by. There was this little girl at Gosia's age that approached us and said: “Gosia, I don't want you to die”. I replied: “We will do everything in our power to make sure that Gosia can live”. We promised ourselves that we will not leave any stone unturned in making this a reality. We believe in miracles. We are here for her and we hope you can help Gosia!
Please, help us save our daughters life!
Gosia is already after megachemotherapy and a bone marrow autograft. It’s impossible to count the tears and nervous breakdown we went through. Over the period of 31 days, she was attached to drip, her blood was taken 49 times, she swallowed over 200 pills. Her esophagus was completely burned after chemo, she could eat. We’ve spent almost two months in the hospital. She cried out of pain, I cried out of helplessness.
Gosia just finished the next phase of treatment, which means we are getting close to the beginning of immunotherapy. But we still need a huge part of money necessary for this treatment. That’s why I ask for your help – I ask for life for my little daughter.