our miracle answer to prayer. Ruthie was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and along
with many others our church began to pray. Now, more than a year later, Ruthie
is a happy, active five year old. We praise God for all He has done! What follows
is an account of Ruthie’s journey through neuroblastoma through the eyes of her mom. This is written with the hopes
of encouraging others with very sick children. A special thanks is due to all who prayed and gave all through Ruthie’s
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
The Medical Journey of Ruth Mersburgh
February 27, 2006 Ruth
has her physical to get ready for Kindergarten. All her immunizations are giving
and up to date.
March 3, 2006 X-ray showed mass in chest, blood counts are normal
March 4, 2006 Flew to Honolulu,
Kapiolani Medical Center, mass in left side of neck
March 5, 2006 Biopsy mass
March 9, 2006 Diagnosis Neuroblastoma stage IV
March 11, 2006 Start Chemo, first of 6
April 18, 2006 Stem cell
harvest only 8 hours in one day. Ruth’s stem cell collection was scheduled
for 8 hours on 2 days. Since the amount of stem cells collected on the first day was
the highest ever at the hospital, one day’s collection was all that was needed.
April 24, 2006 Ruth visited her Kamehameha Pre-school class. Ruth had completed two
rounds of Chemo and the stem cell harvest.
May 1, 2006 NG feeding tube out after 2 months. Ruth
was eating on her own with the help of a good medicine – Megace.
June 30 2006 Ruth had 5 hours of surgery to remove the chest tumor. All
along Dan and I were told these tumors would not come out. Our best hope was to shrink them by 2/3’s with Chemo. Ruth’s
regular surgeon, Dr. Robie, was on medical leave so his partner Dr. Johnson confidently said the tumors have to come out and
took them out with two scopes. Dr. Johnson studied under a Neuroblastoma researcher.
We felt God’s direct guidance in this.
After five hours of surgery and Dan and
I being prepared for her to go to ICU. Ruth was strong enough to stay out of
ICU and recover for 3 days on her own floor, Wilcox Unit.
July 5 to 25 Ruth got
to recover at home in Kona.
By the end of July, Ruth had returned to
Oahu to complete her sixth and final Chemo.
At the beginning of August - Ruth had her first transplant work up. It is a series of tests and scans. She was showing minimal Neuroblastoma.
After the testing we got to return to Kona for about two weeks. One more surgery
was scheduled for Sept. 5 to remove the last spot of Neuroblastoma in the left neck. Dr. Johnson preformed the 3 hour surgery.
Ruth stayed in the hospital for only a couple of days. At the end of the week Ruth had a post surgery scan.
September 12, 2006 we
found out that Ruth had a new mass on her neck. Two rounds of Chemo. Third time scanning for stem cell transplant.
November 3, 2006 Stem cell transplant. Only four doses during the four weeks of isolation at transplant. IVIG
(IV Immune Booster) Usually transplant patients need it weekly for three months.
January 9, 2007 Ruth has completed her radiation today. She
does have a cough and runny
nose, probably from the radiation on her neck area. Over all she is doing better.
Ruth is doing well
January 22, 2007 We found out that Ruth will receive the Accutane on the randomized Children’s
Oncology Group Study for 14.18 antibodies.
January 26, 2007
Ruth post transplant scans gave us great news that her neuroblastoma has responded
to all the treatment so far. Her tumors are gone and no new disease was found.
January 29, 2007
Ruth started round one of six of Accutane oral medicine. She takes the Accutane
14 days on and then rest for 14 days.
February 2007 Ruth has
a reaction to the Accutane in the form of Chicken Pox like blisters. After much
testing and a round of Acyclovir Ruth is found to have titer. She is immune to
the chicken pox.
March 26, 2006 Ruth blood
counts are very strong, her white blood count is normal.
April 17-23, 2007 Mid
treatment scans to check for status of her neuroblastoma. MIBG scan is clear
June 5, 2007 Ruth’s
Hickman Catheter is removed. She can now go swimming.
July 2, 2007 Ruth is done with the Accutane treatment.
July 13-20, 2007 Post
Treatment test and scans (CT-head to pelvis, Bone Scan, MIBG Scan, Echo of her heart, Audiogram, Urine and Blood Test, Bone
Marrow Aspirate and Biopsy)
Ahead for Ruth
July 30, 2007 finding
out the results of the test.
August 1, 2007 Ruth starts
Ruth Speaking about her faith:
“God places His hand on sick children.”
“God makes me strong.”
“God has given me everything I need.”
“Jesus loves me.”
New Year’s Day 2007
“If this one works (pointing to her Hickman catheter in her chest) that good.
If it does not I’ll see Alyssa and the angels.” When Dad told
her not to worry as she is doing well. Ruth quickly responded “I’m
not worried Dad, you are”
Charlene was unable to be at home for most
2006 because of Ruth’s illness.
Many people helped with personal gifts
back home and allover.
Rebekah had a difficult time in school
from March 2006 to June 2006. Her teacher tutored her after school to fill the gap. Our church family helped watch her and
she is now doing well in school. Currently in sixth grade Rebekah’s GPA is 3.2.
Thomas got into Kamehameha Schools. He
has had the most difficult time adjusting to Ruth’s cancer. He is a very loving person and it hurts him deeply to see
his sister suffer. Thomas has been growing through this process. Currently Thomas just registered for his sophomore year and
is off of academic probation.
Each step of the way God has provided for
Church family in Kona
Church family in Mililani
Ronald McDonald House – It has been a gift from God