My name is Annabelle Katelynn Obersteadt, and I am 6 years old. I blessed my Mommy and Daddy's lives with my presence on May 22, 2004. I love to dance, sing, and run as fast as I can! I am in 1st grade now, and I LOVE IT!! School is so much FUN! I am making so many new friends, and my teacher, Mrs. Folsom. I do love her!! God has been good to me!! ;O)
My big sister, Elsie, is my best friend who I love to laugh, dance, and play with! She is 9 years old and loves animals! :o) I have also been blessed with a little brother named Tucker who is 3 years old. His birthday is in the same month as mine!! Oh, and he is pretty cute! Yes, he is!! ;O)
I have been an Honored Child through St. Baldrick's since the Spring of 2007. I am so grateful that I have been able to help raise money for St. Baldrick's for 4 years in a row now! What an amazing foundation it is for children like me who are fighting cancer! Thank you, St. Baldrick's!
The cancer inside my tummy is called NEUROBLASTOMA. I have Neuroblastoma, Stage 3, Intermediate Risk with an amplified MYNC gene to be exact.
On May 31, 2006, the doctors at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital found a mass in my tummy while they were looking at my kidneys. On June 1, 2006, the doctors told my Mommy and Daddy that the mass was a tumor, and that it was neuroblastoma.
Mommy wrote a recap of where I am recently with my 4 1/2 year fight against cancer on my website. Here it is for you all to read and rejoice alongside my family and I in His Love and in His miraculous Healing Hand for God is the Great Physcian and, yes, I am a witness to the power in the Blood of Jesus!
Here it is:
Annabelle has cancer. She is in remission, but she is NOT cancer-free.
Her cancer is Neuroblastoma Stage 3, Intermediate risk with MYCN gene amplification (poor prognosis). The tumor was first discovered on Thursday, June 1, 2006 just after she had turned 2 years old.
The miracle of a reason the tumor was discovered was due to the 5 febrile seizures in a row due to an urinary tract infection caused by E. coli.
If it wasn't for E. coli , we would not have known about Annabelle's cancer as neuroblastoma has been nicknamed the "phantom cancer." It is usually discovered after it is in its last stage, Stage IV, where the chance of survival is minimum. Thus, for this only reason, we can confidently state that we love E. coli !
After Annabelle's urinary infection was treated with antibiotics, her pediatrician, Dr. Godfrey, recommended she should have an ultrasound of her kidneys to make sure her kidneys were functioning properly.
During that ultrasound it is when the tumor was discovered right behind her right kidney growing/making its way to behind her left kidney. It was the size of a grapefruit. After a biopsy of the tumor was done, Annabelle was diagnoesed with neuroblastoma.
Thanks be to God for our pediatrician, Dr. Godfrey, in Nashville, TN!! He is our HERO and shall always be!!!!
In January of 2007, she underwent an 18 hour surgery to remove over 50% of the tumor. The remaining less than 50% of the tumor is 5% malignant.
The surgeon, the amazing Dr. Lovvorn, could not remove the less than 50% left because the remaining tumor is wrapped tightly around the vena cava. One knick of the artery would have and still would kill Annabelle instantly.
The chemotherapy was stopped because it was not causing the tumor to shrink. Before the surgery she underwent 8 rounds of chemotherapy, and one more round after the surgery.
The doctors decided to stop chemotherapy and see if her body would take control as neuroblastoma (malignant) can change to ganglioneuroma (benign).
It was a rollercoaster that first summer of 2007 as both the HVA/VMA levels went up. Vanillylmandelic Acid (VMA) & Homovanillic Acid (HVA) are Catacholamines found in urine. They are the first indicators of neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma patients have above average levels. When the levels go up instead of down in neuroblastoma patients, it indicates the tumor is active (malignant and growing). Thus, when the HVA/VMA levels went up, the word 'radiation' was being whispered.
I begged for one more urinalysis or U/A to be done and the Friday before the Monday of her first day of radiation the levels miraculously went down. And thus thru the Blood of Jesus, Annabelle did not have to undergo radiation. It truly was a miracle!! Thank you, Jesus!!
From that point on there have been more ups than downs as we await the U/A test results to come back. Soli Deo Gloria!!
First, it was every 3 months she underwent the U/A tests, MRI, and CT scans, and then it changed to every 6 months as the levels have been going down, down, down slowly but surely!! Thank you, Jesus!
On June 11, 2009 around 11am, I asked Dr. Collier when we would hear the powerful word of remission. At 11am that day, he told me that he was hesitant to say it as the tumor is still inside of her partially malignant, but he told us yes that she is in remission! Talk about the 11th hour! Thank you, Daddy God!
So this is what we are awaiting on for January 5, 2011, Annabelle's 6 month checkup. Annabelle will have another urinalysis done and we will wait for a week to find out if the malignant tumor (neuroblastoma) is continuing to change to a benign tumor (ganglioneuroma). She will also have bloodwork and an ultrasound done as well.
We have been told that these tests will continue on until she is completely cancer-free as she is not and has not been during her 4 1/2 year fight against neuroblastoma.
This could be into her teenage years when she finally can say she is cancer-free, but we do not know that and the doctors don't know that as it is in God's timing not ours.
If you still have questions or are still confused, there are plenty of websites to look at for you to educate yourself on our daughter's condition as we, her parents, have done thru her doctors and our own research.
Here is a good place for you to start:
To sum it up. Annabelle has been fighting cancer for 4 1/2 years. She is in remission, but she is NOT cancer-free. Her prognosis is most excellent thanks to Him and the precious Blood of Jesus. As well as your precious prayers!
As you can still see, I need your prayers in Jesus' Name. And my Mommy, Daddy, older sister, Elsie, and baby brother, Tucker, need your love and prayers too. I love them all sooo much!! Cancer hasn't only affected me, but it has affected every one in my dear family ~
I know God loves me, and He doesn't make mistakes. I am going to get thru this, and so is my family.
My Mommy is going to keep you all updated while I heal. I love you all. And may God bless you all. You are in my prayers as well.
In His Arms,