Montana is 8, and has been fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma for 3 years. She had been experiencing intermittent pain in her left hip, which was first thought to be from her dancing, gymnastics and swimming. When the pain persisted, she had an ultrasound and x-ray which found nothing. Then one day at gymnastics she was asked to hold her arms above her head, and she screamed in pain. Her mother took her to the local hospital, and she was transferred to PMH the following day.
There she underwent a bone scan, which showed shadowing on her legs. She had a bone biopsy, but nothing grew in the cultures. Doctors diagnosed osteomyelitis, and began treatment. When she didn’t respond to the treatment, further tests were done. Finally, in November 2013 doctors found the cancer in her spine, bones and bone marrow – her oncologist described her MIBG scan as being ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’.
Montana endured 4 rounds of chemotherapy, then had surgery to remove the primary tumour from her spine. After that she had 2 more rounds of chemotherapy followed by megatherapy, 12 rounds of low dose radiation, immunotherapy and a stem cell rescue.
Following her treatment, Montana was declared to have no evidence of disease. Sadly she relapsed just 9 months later, when neuroblastoma was discovered in her brain and in her pelvis. She had further surgery to remove the tumour from her brain, and more chemotherapy – she has now completed 15 rounds, and was recently declared no evidence of disease again. However, she will still have 3 more rounds of chemotherapy, with the possibility of further radiation to follow, and her risk of relapsing again remains high.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Montana has always been more worried about her parents and those around her than about herself. She is a kind and loving young girl who is full of smiles and life, despite having faced things most of us could never imagine. She is a true Warrior!Share