The C Word

Ten years ago, my little girl was a four year-old happily splashing in puddles.  Victoria was my joyful model for the picture on the What should a 4 year-old know? article that brought a lot of people here over the years.

Two weeks ago, Victoria was having surgery to remove a cyst on her jawline that had been bothering her for over a year.  Numerous doctors dismissed it as nothing and told her to just leave it alone, but it was growing and we finally found a doctor who took it seriously.  My baby had an IV and a breathing tube, and awoke to a drainage tube coming out of her neck for two days.

At her two week follow-up with the surgeon this week, we were informed that it was cancer. 

In today’s world, the easiest way to update a whole lot of concerned loved ones at once is sometimes Facebook, and this was my status that afternoon.

It was cancer (papillary cystic acinic cell carcinoma) but the prognosis is good. He believes he got it all and it is one of the “best” parotid cancers to get. She has a 12% lifetime chance of getting it again. There’s no need for chemo or radiation, and this was probably the cause of her terrible headaches the past few months. Her case was forwarded to a specialist in children’s parotid cancers in Iowa and we have his recommendations too. We’re getting a second opinion just to be cautious, too. The swelling and leaking should stop in the next few weeks and there’s no infection. She’s feeling okay about the whole thing (though she’s sick on top of things, with this bug that Anna, Fiona and I have) and Dad took her for lunch and ice cream.

We are optimistic about her prognosis and we will be very proactive in finding information, keeping her immune system healthy and minimizing its chances of ever returning.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of scary thoughts, google searches and late-night mama worries, but knowledge is power and we’re pretty good at accumulating a lot of knowledge around here.

What has really struck me during this ordeal is how strong, funny, brave, rational and all-around amazing this kid of mine has been throughout it all.  From researching parotid glands on her own to keeping up a hysterical run of gallows humor at times to telling me “Mom, just don’t freak out,” she’s been wise beyond her years and incredibly positive.

Every person in our family is now sick (with all different things!) and we are still recovering from 3 birthdays in one week and a week of hosting a super fabulous extra teenager and all sorts of adventures, both good and bad.  I hope to be back soon, but I thought I’d fill you in on all of this. 

My goals for all of us the next few weeks involve rest, love, laughter, good nutrition and good times together. Oh, and somehow catching up on laundry…

Oh yes, and getting the materials to make this next month, because that just looks awesome.  🙂 

Kiss your babies, count your blessings and let the laundry wait if you have to.




Filed under the big stuff

24 responses to “The C Word

  1. Big hugs to you and all that your family is going through. The offer to help stands stronger than ever. ❤

  2. Jennifer

    Oh, no!! I’m so sorry. 😦 What a strong and brave girl she is! So glad she won’t need to go through chemo or radiation. She sounds like she has an amazing outlook on this all and that’s so wonderful 🙂

  3. Shannon Orr

    I read your blog because it makes me smile. Thank you for always reminding everyone to find joy and magic in the everyday. Prayers for your daughter and fmily.

  4. Sandra

    Wow, how scary! So glad you were able to finally get a doctor to listen to you and that her prognosis is good. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and healthy cancer free thoughts.

  5. How many times have I heard of a mom who brings up questions to her child’s dr to be told “leave it alone” or not to worry only to have it be something very very worrisome?? It makes me so mad- I mean headaches and a bump?! I am so glad she has you on her side- what a great momma to persevere for her! I am going to take Victoria’s stance of positive and hopeful and just pray that these silly Dr’s learn to listen a little better.
    Thank you for your work on this blog and for being such an inspiring mom.

  6. I can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to hear your child’s name and cancer in the same sentence.It’s wonderful to read about moms who won’t take ‘don’t worry about it’ for an answer when they know something is wrong. I am so glad that her prognosis is so positive. She has such a wonderful family to support her! I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  7. Denise P.

    Sorry to hear that your family has encountered the C word. My husband and I both have had our own dealings with this and wish your daughter a speedy recovery and a long joy filled life ahead. We also wish you and your husband good health and courage in this new parenting challenge. We will keep you in our hearts and prayers.

  8. Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing your personal story, Alicia. I have only the best wishes for you and your family. You are an inspiring woman, keeping the fun in life & sharing with others by reminding us to do the same with the time we have.
    Peace to you and your family!

  9. I’m sorry for your girl, I feel what you’ve been through.I wish her a speedy recovery .

  10. Vilma

    Feeling for you! Good vibes from Portugal hope all of you will get well soon!

  11. Sandra

    Best wishes to you all. Hoping for a speedy, hassle free recovery. A big pat on the back for following your instincts on this – mothers really do know best.

  12. Holly

    Praying for all of you- I am faced with a medical challenge with my son and today we had a enjoy life day and left the dishes and laudry go. I had alot of paperwork and busy work to get one of my son’s procedures ready and scheduled that I did not have time to think. Tonight , before one of the procedures my head was spinning and I clicked on your blog. Your message was what I neeeded. Enjoy life and stay strong for your little one. Good night and my prayers are with you all.

  13. Much love to you and your beautiful family! Best wishes to a speedy recovery.

  14. Amy

    Alicia – I first found you on the TCAPI list and have always enjoyed your wisdom, humor and creativity. I am so sorry to hear your daughter and family are going through this. My family will be sending healing energy and keeping you in our thoughts. Hugs xoxox

  15. Elena

    You have been my inspiration for so many years, starting with my own Fiona 10 years ago down to my 5th daughter who is now 5 months old. You have always taught us to relish in every moment with our children and this latest news emphasizes this more than ever. It sounds like your daughter is so strong on every level, and that somehow you are able to get through this with your usual “magic.” You can count on me to send healing vibes to you all!

  16. Katrina

    Thoughts and prayers with you and your family.
    Thank you for sharing so it is not as scary for the next person who gets it.
    But most of all good on you for trusting in your daugther and looking until you got a Dr who was willing to listen and act on it.

  17. At first I wondered what the blogtitle meant as I’m just about to go out with my family and didn’t really have time to read. Then it hit me. Victoria, the operation. Cancer. All I could think was NO! Nonononononononono. I didn’t want to read such a message on such a beautiful day, I cried, I read. I’m glad I did. Relief, but also fear, and sadness, but mainly relief. People across the world are thinking of you, feeling with you and all praying in their own ways. Sending love, hugs & strength, and a lot of jokes and laughter, as you do to all of us. Thanks for sharing.

  18. lots of love and good thoughts on your way….
    I’m sure it won’t be easy or fun but I’m sure you’ll make it that way for them the same way you make their childhood special and magical day after day!
    thanks for share with us,

  19. Nikki D.

    Thx for such sharing such a sweet & encouraging post!

  20. GrethA

    A very big hug for you and your family
    from Israel.

  21. big hugs to you all, special mumma hugs to you… it hurts to see your kids in pain and not being able to do much about it.
    from a new zealand mum

  22. gentlemamamoon

    Hugs and warmest thoughts of strengh to you all, from my family and I here in the UK.
    I hugged my little one so tightly after I read this he had to wrestle me off! When my 2.5 year old son had to have a very small operation a few weeks ago, my own mother was so fretful, and more for me than for him, it was only after I could understand why – It’s so difficult as a mother to let go and just watch and wait while your baby is in the care of strangers and the divine. It hits you hard, so be gentle with yourself also. x

  23. Rene

    I can’t believe no doctors were taking you seriously! Thats exactly why I don’t trust them and try do what I can without them. Ridiculous! But thank the good Lord above that there was one Dr willing to stop being greedy and listen to you! Hugs to you and your family. xxx

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