Turning a Corner

Yesterday 5/11 Reba had an MRI and labs at Primaries in Salt Lake City. It was a very long day. The scan showed basically unchanged dimensions. The mass is measuring 8.2 cm x 7.8 x 10 cm whereas the last scan (10/20/21) was measuring 7.9 x 9 x 10.3 cm.

Our oncologist Dr. Fluchel feels like it is time to transfer Reba to post 5 year Survivorship care team. Reba has been in a careful surveillance regiment for the past 5 years since she stopped treatment in Spring of 2017. Because Reba had refractory Neuroblastoma, or a relapse and required additional chemotherapy we have been keeping a close eye on the mass for 5 years. Dr. Fluchel feels that she has been very stable and would like to transfer her care to a team that will continue to monitor, but in a different way. Next year the plan is an ultrasound, and to follow her blood/urine numbers.

It feels surreal honestly. We are scared to back off, and yet at the same time this is the absolute best news we could have hoped for.

Yes the mass is still there, but it is likely mostly scarred and matured- meaning (hopefully) the cancer cells will not keep dividing.

The mass is encasing the celiac axis, superior mesenteric artery and bilateral renal arteries. It also displaces the pancreas anteriorly (rude unwanted guest!). In a perfect world the mass would disintegrate and be gone. At this point however her body is living with it, and she is thriving. So for now we let it be, and enjoy life. Hallelujah, Amen!! Now time to celebrate.

Old pro at MRIs- doesn’t require anesthesia. Reba sits perfectly still and watches a virtual movie for hours.
Welcome feast after hours of fasting for the scan!
Long day…hurry up and wait.


Today was scan day. It was our first time at Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah. New Hospital, new oncologist, Dr. Fluchel. After being at Packard in Stanford for 6.5 years we were hesitant to switch our care team. Scared of starting somewhere new. We wanted to move to Idaho years ago but were too afraid to make the leap of faith. But now we have. ..and no regrets! Today was a great experience for Reba. She had MRI with contrast and labs. They had virtual goggles just like Stanford so Reba could watch a movie during the long 2 hour scan. She’s such a trooper- didn’t move a muscle for over two hours…. incredible.

Then we met her new Doctor, Dr. Fluchel who had reviewed a huge box of Reba’s history from Stanford and is helping ease us into this new transition and communicate with Stanford as we move forward.

The MRI shows the mass is more or less about the same size as it was in February, measuring 5.7 x 8.8 x 9 cm. In February it measured 5.5 x 7.9 x 9 cm. Because of it’s difficult shape, it is hard to measure the mass exactly the same way. Our new doctor is happy to have a new baseline as we move forward. So for now we wait on lab results (blood and urine) and plan on coming back in 6 months.

Changes. Moving to a new state. A new home. New school for the girls. New oncologist for Reba. Shocking and yet refreshing. We are grateful we took this leap of faith.

“Courage is the choice and willingness to confront uncertainty. Life is all about taking risks. If you never take a risk, you will never achieve your dreams.”

Reba chose this crown at the gift shop for her dolls and had fun with it all day. 😊

Reba is a pro with IVs

Humdinger is photo bombing

Crown now on Sammy the Sloth, the hospital gave her Sammy today.

995 lbs.!

Heidi and Daddy came today too! And baby with the crown 💓

Results 2/17/21

Today is a good day for us- the tumor is basically the same size. It is great news that is has not grown. Praise God. The tumor is measuring 5.5 x 7.9 x 9.0 cm.

Bloodwork all looks good, we are still waiting on the HVA and VMA marker results. But in general it is unchanged since June and so the plan will be to continue to watch… so we will check again in 6 months. 6 more months of freedom- we’ll take it!! Have a great day everyone!

We have so many memories over the last six years of this pavilion and garden at Stanford- the flowers smelled intoxicatingly Heavenly today.

We always come see Mama and baby bear while we’re here.

And of course the train as well!

2/15/21 Scan Day

Wow I can’t believe the last time we were writing about a Stanford procedure it was last June…. 8 months ago. In that time, Reba turned 6 years old, we navigated through covid, Thanksgiving and Christmas came again, our beloved Mountain house sold, we bought our first house in Idaho and our new baby is expected any day now. And yet here we are suddenly faced with “scanxiety” today as Reba had an MRI to measure and check on the tumor. It’s so easy to slip back into our normal routine, pushing the tumor out of our lives. And yet it is so important to stay on top of it, to make sure the silent beast doesn’t become strong again.

Reba had a big day at Stanford with an MRI, labs, ECHO and EKG. It was just her and Daddy because covid protocol only allows one parent with the patient currently.

Reba handled everything superbly- was able to do her scan without anesthesia, didn’t even cry for the IV (first time!), and sat still for her heart scans.

A few disappointing set backs included an unnecessary covid test for Reba; they thought she was getting anesthesia therefore required the covid test, but this is her fourth scan without anesthesia so that wasn’t necessary. Let’s just say I’m glad Nik was there to receive that news or this mama tiger would have gotten quite upset for the pain Reba had to endure for no reason. Also Nik had to advocate for her labs to be collected, and the order for EKG was also wrong and stalled the procedure… so for being one of the best hospitals in our country quite a few setbacks today that were completely avoidable and that does not inspire confidence. Good thing we’ve been fighting this for 6 years and could tell/insist on exactly what she needed today…

We will return 2/17 to talk to Reba’s oncologist about the scan results and the plan moving forward. We have a lot of questions as we prepare to move to Idaho- will we remain under Stanford’s care? Dare we switch hospitals? With faith and prayer we will navigate these big changes.

Prayers for the best results Wednesday please….❤️🙏

One on one time is special…. even in a hospital!

After her hour scan of sitting completely still- what a trooper!

Somehow the playground was open- last time was closed due to covid.

So many tickle-y cords for the EKG


Today 6/10 we were back at LPCH after 6 months off! Reba had an MRI today to check on the tumor.

She did the MRI without anesthesia for the second time perfectly! Everyone was so impressed with her ability to sit perfectly still with her arms above her head and a big film table on her abdomen. She’s amazing.

The MRI shows a little growth. It now measures 5.9 x 8.0 x 9.4 whereas before it was 5.6 x 7.5 x 9.1 cm.

Still our oncologist Dr. Majzner recommends that we continue to watch it and check it again in 6 months. She is doing so well, we don’t want to mess around with treatments unless we need to.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

Results 12/18/19

Today we were back at LPCH for the results, and everything looks the same so this is good!

Reba’s oncologist Dr. Majzner is happy with the results and wants to see her back in 6 months for another MRI. Doing this last MRI was very successful awake, her first time(!) so we will plan on doing that again.

The MRI report says that the mass appears similar in size to the prior study of 5/9/2019, and measures approximately 5.6 x 7.5 x 9.1 cm.

This is the best Christmas present, peace of mind for the next six months! We are always trying to learn how to live with Neuroblastoma but as long as it is not hurting Reba we are happy just watching the mass carefully. We left with no stuffed animals and are returning with 6 new stuffed animals 🧸 🤦‍♀️. LPCH is generously handing out presents to the children for Christmas. Such loving and caring volunteers here. ❤️❤️❤️

Shane liked the bear a little more today.

Results and new Doc 5/14

Today (5/14/19) we were back for the results from all the scans done last week. The mass has grown slightly but not enough to worry our doctor or do anything right now.

Our new oncologist Dr. Majzner is fantastic- we are excited about beginning this new chapter with him! He thinks we can just do an MRI in 6 months, and push back another MIBG for 12 months. This is such a relief because the MIBG injection is high stress with her previous reactions and also a lot of radiation with the injection and the scan itself.

So in 3 three months we will be back to Stanford for labs, blood/urine and also her audiology (hearing) appointment and heart ultrasound and EKG.

The bigger issue and question in the long run is will it continue to grow? Currently the mass is measuring 5.7 cm x 7.7 cm x 9 cm. In November of 2015 the tumor measured 2.8 cm x 4.1 cm x 2.9 cm. So over time this is a significant growth. Every scan has shown just a little growth but comparing the 2015 size with the size it is today, it is worrisome with the amount it has grown.

Our new oncologist Dr. Majzner is very knowledgeable with Neuroblastoma and he thinks we shouldn’t do anything until a problem presents. Reba is doing great, feels great. He feels there is no reason to suggest any surgery or chemotherapy at this time. Which is a relief, but also worrisome when we know there has been significant growth over time.

New Snuggly Bear that Yaya bought Reba❤️

Playing after the appointment

Lil bro came while big sis was at school

Bone Marrow aspirates, MIBG and MRI

As usual Reba was a super trooper today (5/9/19). It was a long day but all in all went well.

Her first procedure was the bone marrow aspirates, two samples from her lower back. Her back is sore but not too bad.

She then had the MIBG and MRI scans. About 5 hours under anesthesia.

We are very grateful that today we had an anesthesiologist who really listened to us about our conservative approach to drugs. There were no surprises when we came back to the recovery room, she only received the propofol and Tylenol.

Next Tuesday 5/14 we will be back to review the results with a new Attendee…🤞🙏

This was after two IV starts! Reba is so positive and able to move on quickly.

Snug bug

Long awaited popsicle post-anesthesia!

Shane came today with us and loves his apple!

He loved it so much he fell asleep with it!

CT Scan and Injection

Well after a very nice break we were back today, 5/8/19 for Reba’s day 1 of 2 scans.

Today consisted of a chest CT scan, IV start, and MIBG injection. Because Reba has had reaction to this injection in the past we pre-medicated her with prednisone 13, 7 and 1 hours before the injection. Also one hour before the injection we gave her Benadryl.

The injection went smoothly, big sigh of relief. We always get nervous.

Tomorrow will be bone marrow aspirates (her yearly), MIBG scan and MRI scan. It will be a long day under anesthesia tomorrow.

Thank you for your well wishes, prayers, and intentions for continued stability or even shrinkage! ❤️

Zoe stayed by Reba’s side and was a great big sister, as always.


Shane loves playing with his sisters, he doesn’t care where.

During the nuclear Med injection there was a fire alarm…. it was really loud so they provided these headphones for Shane to wear. They squeezed his cheeks together😂

Results, stable!

Wednesday 1/16/19 we were back for the results of the scans and everything remains stable. Thank God!!

The MIBG curie score is still a one, so still lighting up but very little. The mass is measuring 8.5 x 4.5 x 8 cm, which varied a bit from last time but they think it’s because of the hard to measure shape of the mass. Another encouraging piece of news is her VMA and HVA levels are lower, now at 21.8 and 45.7. (This is good- heading in the right direction, down instead of up!!)

Our oncologist of 4 years also let us know he is moving hospitals. We are of course surprised- happy for him, but nervous for us. Who will the next oncologist be? Will we stay at Stanford? How can our oncologist who has been there since the beginning leave? Do we follow him? We have a lot of considering to do to help guide our way. Please pray for clarity in making the right decision.

The plan moving forward is to have scans in May and also bone marrow aspirates. We are so thankful for continued stability. May we never forget or get too comfortable in our bliss.