After 32 chemo infusions, 18 blood transfusions, seven tube placements and four surgeries, during a total four months of in-hospital stay, 6-year-old Addi Bales is home and cancer-free.
The daughter of Andy and Holly Bales, Addi was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in late 2014. She endured an initial round of chemotherapy, a surgery removing a large portion of her femur and another 21-week round of chemotherapy, which ended just last week.
“She had her port out on Tuesday,” Holly Bales said. “The next step or next hurdle is physical therapy to get her walking again, get the mobility back. But as far as treatment goes, we’re done with the cancer thing forever now.”
Just after Addi started kindergarten at Lakeview Academy in the fall, her parents started noticing she was fatigued throughout the day and had a slight limp.
“There were never sharp pains or anything like that, but it was just kind of a nagging thing,” Holly Bales said previously. “And she started getting restless at night, so we took her for an X-ray after about three weeks of those symptoms.”
The X-ray showed Addi had a large tumor in her femur.
For the next eight months, Addi was in and out of treatment at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. In January, she underwent surgery at Vanderbilt to remove the tumor, and the surgeon was forced to remove 7 inches of Addi’s femur.
“It was pretty much her entire femur, but we were just blessed that she was able to keep her leg,” Holly Bales said.
During the 21 weeks of chemotherapy following the surgery, Addi had a few scary surprises surface. Ten nodules or “spots” appeared in her lungs and she suffered infections with high fevers due to her compromised immune system. But her mother called her healing through it all “miraculous.”
“The day before they were going to do the surgery to remove the spots, they did a chest CT and they were completely gone,” Holly Bales said. “Obviously it was the power of prayer, and we think it might have just been an infection, instead of being the worst. It was amazing news.”
Though Addi is home with a “no evidence of disease” diagnosis, her fight is not completely over. Holly Bales said her daughter will have to be scanned and tested every three months for the next two to three years to rule out any remaining evidence of the disease. There are risks for cancer survivors, including relapse and organ problems, but the Bales family is “celebrating the blessings as they come.”
As the Bales family left Scottish Rite last week, Addi was given a “Happy Day” card signed by her nurses and a copy of the book by Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
The book reads, “I’m sorry to say so, but, sadly, it’s true, that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you ... but you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”
“How special this book is now,” Holly Bales said on the Addi Strong Facebook page. “Every time I see it, it will bring back those memories of our ‘bang-ups and hang-ups,’ but more importantly, our Happy Day and the mountain awaiting.”
Holly Bales thanked everyone for their support over the last eight months. She said Addi is happy to be home and spent the last week with friends and family, behaving like a normal little girl.
“She is excited to be home and back to doing normal things,” Holly Bales said. “She’s been swimming a lot, which is great for her therapy-wise. If you weren’t looking at a bald head and a kid who isn’t walking, you would never know what she’s been through.”