Two days after her diagnosis, Libby – who weighed about 50 pounds total – had a 3-pound tumor removed from her right kidney.
She then underwent an echocardiogram to evaluate if her young heart was healthy enough to withstand chemotherapy. It instead displayed that her tumor had broken off and gone into her heart.
Dr. Klesse considers it an honor to be a pediatric oncologist for patients like Libby. Read More
Libby immediately underwent open-heart surgery. During the procedure, she was put on a bypass machine, and her heart was stopped for 43 minutes. She then spent 22 hours in intensive care, but only needed Tylenol during her recovery. She was released from the hospital two days later.
“She’s the classic redhead,” Dr. Laura Klesse, Libby’s oncologist in the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, said. “She was feisty all the way through. Also, her parents were supportive throughout. That made a big difference.”
More Explosive Than Ever
The firecracker underwent 28 weeks of chemo and 16 sessions of radiation. And on Oct. 22, 2012, she received clear scans. There was no longer any sign of cancer in her body.
“For all intents and purposes, she’s beaten it,” Cara said. “We’re now to every-three-month scans.”
During her treatment phase, Libby lost the deep-red hair that topped her head and represented her spirit. However, her hair has now grown back a curlier, brighter shade of red.
She fittingly had the chance to perform in a musical version of Annie last winter; she wants to be an actress when she grows up. In the meantime, she’s just enjoying being a kid. And her mother is grateful.
“Without a doubt, Children’s saved Libby’s life,” Cara said. “I can’t express my gratitude enough – not only to the people who cared for Libby at the hospital, but also to the people who give their resources to fund the care provided at Children’s.”