We waited about an hour for the radiologist to read the scan...."it's a hemangioma, something that will go away on it's own. A benign mass."...this is the message that the xray tech delivered to us from the radiologist. Amen! BENIGN! That's pretty much all I heard. Then I start to open my text books from dental school and look up this little 'bump'. Big mistake! Just google "infantile hemangioma" and see what images pop up. MQ's particular hemangioma is a subcutaneous hemangioma overlying her parotid gland, and it was rapidly growing. We were referred to a couple different specialists to decide a course of action. Most hemangiomas will involute (go away) on their own and require no treatment, but the type that MQ has usually take the longest (up to 10 years) to disappear and they can cause hearing loss, vision problems, facial paralysis, and/or facial disfigurement. Again, google "infantile hemangioma" and you will see what I mean!
Our doctors and Cara mentioned that Cincinnati had a "hemangioma clinic" and said that we may want to look into going up there. After talking to my dad's colleague, Dr. Rider, he recommended that we see Dr. Denise Adams at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in their vascular malformation/hemangioma clinic. So we did...and we are so glad that we did. She started MQ on some medication (it's actually a blood pressure medication) that has already given us amazing results! It's been a bit of a pain to drive up to Cincy weekly, but so worth it! Dr. Adams and her nurse, Carol, are just fabulous...and Cincinnati Children's is an amazing hospital!
MQ had to have an echo and an EKG to check out her heart before getting started on the propranolol. Again...no sedation was needed! The nurses were all shocked at how still she was for the echo that took almost an hour.
I think the hardest part was having to see all of the truly sick kids in that hospital. Dr. Adams is a hematologist/oncologist so every time we went to see her we went to the hem/onc floor, where we saw some pretty sick kids suffering from cancer. I just wanted to hug all of them when I saw them. It just didn't seem fair. Being there for a little hemangioma is NOTHING compared to what some of these other parents are dealing with. One child showed up today in the radiology waiting room obviously battling some type of cancer. Nathan was his name. He had only a few strands of hair, and his skin was as pale as a ghost. His mom wheeled him straight over to the video games where he waited until his name was called. "Do you have your port out and ready?"...the nurse asked this approximately 8 year old little guy. "Yep...it's right here", he answered so nonchalantly with a smile on his face as he lifted up his shirt to show the nurse. It was as if he had 'been there and done that', which I'm sure he has. I just wanted to squeeze him so tightly with a big bear hug. Instead, I just squeezed Mary Quin extra tightly as I held her in my arms waiting to get called back for a simple ultrasound on her cheek. All I could think of was Philippians 1:3, "I thank my God every time I remember you". I just felt so blessed to be sitting there holding my healthy little girl. Thank you, Lord, for her health.
The ultrasound revealed that there was still a "mass" on her left cheek, but it was definitely smaller than before. Dr. Adams called MQ a "wow case", because the propranolol doesn't always work on every vascular tumor. Again, thank you Lord! We won't be taking another trip up to Cincinnati for another two months. Hopefully the tumor will be even smaller by then! Thanks Dr Adams (and Carol) for all your great care! We'll see you in February :)
Here's Mary Quin after several weeks of treatment...look, no bump!