In the days leading up to Lizzie’s three-month checkup, her mother, Sarah, began to have concerns over what appeared to be a lazy eye. Sarah felt even though Lizzie was a newborn, her eye should have been tracking better than it was. Sarah also noticed a glow in little Lizzie’s eye that she could not explain. During a regular checkup with her pediatrician, Dr. Brown in Cincinnati Ohio examined Lizzie’s eyes. Dr. Brown found that her eyes were not reflecting symmetrically. She told Sarah to take Lizzie as soon as possible to an ophthalmologist, Dr. Miles Burke, for a more thorough examination. Dr. Burke discovered what he called a “lesion” on the eye and sent the family to specialists at the University of Cincinnati Hospital. It was here that Dr. Augsburger and Dr. Correa confirmed Lizzie had Retinoblastoma.
Lizzie immediately began chemotherapy at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital under the care of Dr. James Geller. Just one week later, Lizzie’s grandmother, Darlene, discovered she, too, had a battle ahead of her. Darlene was diagnosed with colon cancer. Both grandmother and granddaughter fought simultaneously to win their battles over cancer. Lizzie’s parents, Sarah and Thomas, started calling their little girl their “Warrior Princess.” After four rounds of chemotherapy, little Lizzie was pronounced cancer free! About the same time, Darlene underwent surgery to remove her cancer. She developed an infection and ended up with a total of three surgeries in three months. Darlene found inspiration in the strength and resilience of their “Warrior Princess” to tackle her own battle and fight for her own health. Soon after her final surgery, Darlene was also declared cancer free!
At a follow up checkup on April 20, Lizzie was found to have a re-occurrence in her left eye. This small growth will be treated with laser therapy every three weeks. If for some reason that doesn’t do the trick, she will have a plaque placed on her eye to shoot radiation directly into the tumor. Lizzie turned 1 year old at the end of April, shortly after taking her first steps. She is a strong, active, determined little girl. It has been a challenging year for this inspirational family. The family’s two “warriors” have faced their challenges together head on and now have a bond that will never be broken.