Team Mackanzie cancer fund
Organized by: Doug Chan
My family and I never in a million years would have thought we would encounter the hardest challenge in our life.December 7th , 2013 started out to be a pretty exciting day, but turned out to be a nightmare the following months.My family and I were about to face the world's most scariest monster CANCER.Over the following months my family and I have learned that life is worth ﬁghting for and have grown closer and stronger. December 7th started out as any normal day my family would have.The only really exciting thing about that day was we were celebrating my brother Matthew's ﬁfth birthday.We had a few fun things planned out for his celebration.We took him out to eat to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants here in town.Then after we ﬁnished having our meal, my 12 year old sister Mackanzie said she was having excruciating pain on her left side.She had fallen down the previous week. After days of complaining,she ﬁnally had agreed to go to the E.R. We headed to the hospital.She and my mom checked in,while my dad and the rest of my siblings and I waited in the waiting rooms for hours and hours, or so it felt. She ﬁnally came out with great news ( or so we though at that time). It was just a muscle strain. The doctor told just told her to take some Ibuprofen if the pain got moderate to severe, he also told us to come back in if it didn't get better in a week or two. We headed home to ﬁnish Matthew's birthday. The following week, we went to school like any other normal day. Mackanzie and I were downstairs in our bedroom, just talking to each other. My dad told us to come upstairs because he and my mom needed to tell us something important. We agreed and headed upstairs and walked into my mom and dad's room.My mom told us to sit down in a more serious non-emotional tone.My dad's eyes were ﬁlled with tears. I felt my stomach twist and turn. "What's going on,what happened." I asked exchanging glances between them and my sister. "Amanda, you know how Mackanzie has been experiencing a lot of pain." my mom asked looking at me . "Yeah, isn't just a muscle strain" I asked. "Well the hospital called your aunt Paula saying they found a mass in her side." I felt my heart sink to my stomach. "What?" I asked my voice quavering I felt tears sting the corners of my eyes. Mackanzie just sat there staring blankly at my parents. I felt tears run down my cheeks. "Amanda, it's okay. They said it was just a mass, let's not think of they worst. She's going to be okay," my mom soothed me. "Okay." I snifﬂed. That's when we were about to take the roller coaster of life. The next day Mackanzie and my mom went in to get the mass checked out. They said it had been there a while, but it didn't seem cancerous. They did say it needed to come out, just in case it was cancerous.The doctors here in town said they couldn't do the surgery here since they weren't trained highly enough.They said she would have to have it at the University of Minnesota Children's hospital in Minneapolis.We had no idea where or what that was. I mean we've heard of it before, but we didn't know that much about the hospital itself. We got everything checked out and was told everything was going to be okay. We went on with our lives normally yet a little bit more cautious. Mackanzie wanted to have her surgery later on since she wanted to attend her concert in January. The doctors planned it to be sometime in February. Mackanzie's pain increased each day, and it got to the point where she couldn't stand it, so we decided to schedule it earlier which was a smart choice. So, on Wednesday afternoon, January 22nd, we headed up to the cities. The next day REALLY early in the morning, around three a.m, we got up and got ready since we had to be at the hospital at 5 o'clock, and that gave us enough time to ﬁnd the hospital. We got to the hospital around 4:30/5 in the morning.My mom and Mackanzie got checked in, and at 7 she was admitted into surgery. After 7 long,straining and emotional hours she was ﬁnished and all was well. She was resting in the recovery room. After she recovered, she was sent to her room on the top ﬂoor. We were to go back to the hotel and rest up. The following week was when our world was slowly starting to crumble. The doctors told us that indeed it was cancerous. Our family was in shock. The doctors said they "believe" they got it all out. After six LONG weeks of Mackanzie having health problems, when she was originally supposed to be there a week, she was sent home.There were a lot of happy tears. The doctor did tell us to come back in three months to see if anything was growing. We went on with our lives normally,yet something felt off, we'll to me at least. Three months came and went. My sister, my little brother, and my parents went back up to the cities, while my twin brother and I went to school. That's when our world came crashing down. The doctors said they found more, and it had spread before we took the tumor out. We originally had a plan tripped to go to Disney World through Make-A-Wish, sometime in August. Since we found out she needed to start chemo right away, Mackanzie's doctor signed the papers for a rush trip. We ﬂew down to Florida on April 15th and stayed there until the 22nd. We had a WONDERFUL time full of laughter and fun rides. After we had our fun time Mackanzie started chemo. She slowly was getting more and more tired. She also was starting to lose her hair, which was very traumatizing for her. She ﬁrst started either 3 or 5 days of chemo, two weeks of rest. The doctors bumped up the weeks off to a week of rest. Which was very hard since my brother and I were still in school. Mackanzie was getting more and more crabby. Finally my brother and I were out of school, which made things a lot easier for my parents. We spent a lot of time running back and forth from our house to the cities. After 5 rounds the doctor said the chemo wasn't working and the tumors were growing. My family and I really didn't know what to say or do. After a few weeks Mackanzie started radiation, which was originally supposed to be four weeks. She and my mom stayed at the Ronald McDonald house in Minneapolis and walked to the University of Minnesota Hospital for radiation. The hospital was only a few blocks away. I went up for the last week to spend time with Mackanzie. After three weeks the doctors said they had to stop because ﬂuid was forming in her lungs. The tumors were still there, which is bad, but the good news was that the radiation stabilized the tumors. We were sent home to enjoy the rest of our summer. We spent a week of it in Wisconsin, which was very beautiful. We at least got to enjoy our summer somewhat carefree, with the thought of Mackanzie's cancer at the back of our heads. She is now doing sort of well, she had the courage to go back to school this year. The Middle School agreed for her to wear a hat. Mackanzie still has to take chemo in the form of a pill. We still have a long road ahead of us. Over the past months my family and I have learned that life is precious and we should never take it for granted. We are also glad that Mackanzie is still with us after all she has been through. She is a major role model to me, even though she is younger. My family and I now know that cancer can't and won't defeat us.