Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Background to the Path Forward

On Friday, October 22nd, 2010 Julia came home from school complaining about a stomach ache. That evening we realized she also had a high fever and we assumed she had a some sort of stomach bug. Her stomach ache seemed to come and go during the day Saturday, but still had a fever. We became concerned about her “stomach ache” when we realized it was more a pain in her side or back rather than a nauseous feeling. We called the River Falls Clinic's on-call doctor Saturday night and he said to bring her in in the morning if the pain is still there. The pain was still there on Sunday morning so we took her to the clinic. They did a CT scan to confirm or rule out appendicitis. The images did rule out appendicitis but showed, what looked to be, an abscess on her kidney. The doctor sent us on our way to the emergency room at Children's Hospital in St. Paul.

Julia was admitted to Children's on Sunday, October 24th. On Monday a surgery was performed to insert a drainage tube into the kidney bubble (Julia always referred to it as, “her bubble”). The doctors were surprised that rather than pus, only blood came out. There was also a surprise when none of the urine or blood samples grew anything, i.e. no sign of infection. The plan was then to leave the drainage tube in for a few days to see what came out. The blood flow from the tube soon tapered off and so it was removed on Thursday. Also, starting on Tuesday, Julia had most of her normal personality back, fever gone, and pain gone, and on Wednesday, besides the IV's attached to her, you wouldn't even know anything was wrong with her.

Julia was released from the hospital on Friday, October 29th. The plan was to have a followup ultrasound the next week to make sure the mass was getting smaller or to discuss other options if it wasn't. The ultrasound was done on Thursday, November 4th and we were able to see the same pediatric urologist who had been part of Julia's team of doctors the week before. He explained that the mass was still approximately the same size and that surgery would be needed to remove it. The plan was that the mass would be biopsied and sent to the lab to be looked at and an initial conclusion made while surgery was still going on. This would allow the entire kidney to be removed if need be.

The two-hour surgery was performed on Tuesday, November 9th, by the same pediatric urologist who we had been talking to from the start. The mass turned out to be a Wilms' Tumor, a form of kidney cancer that only affects young kids. For as rare as it is (500 or so cases per year in the U.S.) there is quite a lot known about it and continuous ongoing studies add more knowledge to the pool every year. Most cases of Wilms' Tumor have a very high survival rate, but at this point we don't know all the details, so we don't have an exact prognosis yet.

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Anonymous said...

Continued good thoughts and prayers going out for all of you. Thanks for the updates!

Jayne & family

Jagodzinski said...

Blessings not only from the Jagodzinski & Wagner families; but also from so many friends, neighbors and co-workers! The power of prayer continues...Thanks for the updates through the "Kauth blog", emails and phone calls...There exists much love for Julia and prayers for a speedy recovery! Love Gr. Duane & Gr. Beth (& Raider)

Anonymous said...

I am praying and praying. I love you guys so much and cannot tell you how proud I am of your strength and faith. So many people are thinking of you daily and Julia is loved deeply. Don't give up, and if you need encouragement we are all here for you. Love love love!! ~Katie, Phil, and Maddie.

Anonymous said...

We are all praying for a quick recovery and for everything to be healed! God will do amazing things, you'll see. Blessings to you all.

Candace Plummer

Anonymous said...

The power of prayer is real. Our family will be praying for Julia, Tory, Amanda, and Finn everyday. Thank you so much for the blog updates, they are beautifully composed. Keep in mind there is a whole community of people praying and supporting your family. Love Beth Wittek and family

Retz said...

Torey -

Human rain falls as I write this.

Just know your daughter, her doctors, and all of you are in the Retzinger's daily prayers. Nothin' but love from all of us to all of you.

My ears are available to listen should you want to talk.

Mike, Amy and CC

Tiffany Little said...

Hello Amanda and Family,
We are very sorry to hear about the diagnosis, we too have experience with this cancer as a cousin of mine had the same cancer. She had a kidney removed and underwent the chemo. The whole process for her with diagnosis which was on Christmas to final treatment was 6 or 8 months, but not to lie it will be trying. If you would like to talk to someone who has been through it, my aunt would love to help you. And please don't be afraid to ask your friends and family for help, that's why we are here.
You will be in our prayers,
Tiffany Little
River Falls Moms Group

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you and your family. Ascher has been saying prayers each and everynight that Julia will be better in the morning. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

Jeff, Amber, Ascher and Mischa Carlson