Oriah Uecker Love
Team Member: Brandi Ricks
Dan Lemberger wrote -
Updated January 5th (read to bottom)
Please Help us hit the $25,000 Goal!
This page has been created to help support Jay and Loren Uecker in their healing journey with their daughter, Oriah. Their story is below. Oriah - only 17 months old! - is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for stage III kidney cancer, following the removal of her right kidney and Wilms tumor.
Please take a moment and donate NOW to help support them through this journey. It has been a roller coaster of emotion and strain and YOUR support will greatly help!
Finding the tumor
In early November, Jay was giving Oriah a bath and felt a ʻstrangeʼ lump on her right side. A visit to the pediatrician and an ultrasound the following day, confirmed an unusual mass in the area of the kidney, warranting further investigation. Amazingly, it was commented to Jay that most people would not have detected the mass at that stage. We are grateful for his sensitive palpation skills and awareness in catching this so early!
Off to Childrenʼs hospital in Denver (thankful for the amazing staff and close proximity) the doctors did a scan of Oriahʼs abdomen showing that the mass originated from and was confined to the kidney with NO signs of spread to the lungs, abdomen or brain. It was determined that the kidney was only 15% operative, and surgery was immediately scheduled to remove the kidney/tumor and perform a biopsy.
The Operation, Pathology and Treatment
The surgery went as well as possible with the surgeon being able to remove everything he had hoped. Loren mentioned “The surgical team was one of the best at this hospital, and we are forever indebted to them for saving our daughter's life.” It was found that the tumor was a cancerous Wilms tumor, the most common kidney tumor in young kids. This was one of the better possible scenarios for Oriah, as much is known about this type of pathology and the prognosis is positive. Wilms tumor, or nephroblastoma, is a rare kidney cancer that predominantly effects children under 5.
The pathology report showed that all the cancer had been removed surgically and that there had been no spread to the surrounding tissues, requiring no further treatment. The family breathed a sigh of relief.
HOWEVER, the journey was about to take another HUGE turn...
On the day before Thanksgiving, Loren and Jay received a call from the oncologist that some tissue that was sent out for additional analysis, related to a study they had agreed to take part in, unexpectedly happened to show cancer to have spread outside the boundaries of the kidney into a nearby lymph node. This changed Oriah's prognosis from stage I cancer, as they had originally been told, to a stage III cancer, requiring both chemotherapy and radiation.
One can only imagine the roller coaster of emotion for Loren, Jay and Oriah. The discovery, the tests, the surgery, being told all was clear, and then being told it was actually stage III cancer.
With all this, Oriah's prognosis remains extremely good, due to the nature of Wilms tumors. Her long-term survival rate is in the 90s with an very low incidence of re-occurance. Wilms responds extremely well to treatment, which means treatments are streamlined at relatively low doses.
Oriah just completed 6 days of radiation therapy and will be receiving ongoing chemotherapy, with treatment lasting altogether approx. 6-7 months.
Regarding Oriah throughout this journey, Loren updated:
“As challenging as this journey has been, we continue to be awakened into the freshness and curiosity with which Oriah sees everything in her world, particularly those things which we have assigned a negative association in the conventional medical paradigm. She expresses such palpable freedom in relating to her experience, and this renders many of the fears that we have for her, irrelevant, while simultaneously, inviting us to participate in a larger view. We are her protectors, but, without a doubt, she is our teacher here. We are being given the privilege to serve her to the very best of our ability, a practice as deep as any I know. Gratefully, everything we are being told, assures us that we are ushering Oriah across a threshold that returns her to a long and full life. This is our prayer.”
Ongoing Healing for Oriah
Calculating the emotional strain throughout for this family is immeasurable and difficult to truly comprehend. While much of the medical expenses will be covered, a financial need remains to cover additional alternative and complimentary treatments to help support Oriahʼs body to fully heal, become whole, and rise above the threat of cancer as she moves toward the hope of long life. Jay and Loren were not able to work for the past month, as they supported Oriah through her surgery and recovery, and Loren will continue to be unable to work in the indefinite short-term, as she helps Oriah adjust to her treatments.
This is where your kind donations can help in supporting the Ueckers!
Thank you to everyone who has been sending their good thoughts and prayers! Please keep those coming AND NOW would be an opportune time to consider making a donation (large or small, in any amount) to help the family decrease the financial strain that has been added to an already incredible emotional journey...and help Oriah heal!
UPDATE FROM LOREN AND JAY - JANUARY 5th 2016
We have been deeply moved and humbled by the outpouring of generosity and community that has enlivened this fundraiser. As a family, we are being shown a wholly more potent understanding of the power of community, and this has lifted out hearts up tremendously as we move forward with Oriah in her treatments. We completed Oriah's radiation therapy mid-December, and last week marked the halfway mark for Oriah's weekly chemotherapy sessions. We have 5 more weekly treatments to go, and then the sessions spread out to once every three weeks through May. We have also received each of the three total medicines that Oriah will receive as part of her chemotherapy protocol and so far Oriah has tolerated each of these medicines extremely well with very few to none of the host of possible side-effects. For this, we are beyond grateful, and feel we owe much of her health to the tremendous web of prayers and love that has been embracing her. The doctors are pleased with this, as well as by her progress, and we continue to pursue as much alternative medicinal support as we can while not interfering with her primary treatments. We will be able to bring much more of the deeper healing components online once we complete the traditional chemotherapy, and continue to research into the best approach to rebuilding her overall system. We send a deep bow of gratitude for all the support and care.
If you would like to send a check directly to the Ueckers you can mail it to:
Loren & Jay Uecker
3854 Viewpoint Way
Thank you for your support of Oriah, Loren and Jay!!