Ed Yeates ReportingA team of doctors and health care workers from three different Utah hospitals are attacking an aggressive villain inside a 12-year old Cedar City girl, and tonight it seems they're defeating it.
Hard to believe 12-year old Christy Standler can walk down the hall at Primary Children's Hospital, especially compared to where she was a couple of weeks ago.
Christy Standler: “At first I was just stumbling before that. And then it got so bad that I had to drag myself to the car on the cement, the driveway.”
Like some alien creature, a very bad kind of cancer called a Ewing Sarcoma was wrapping and pushing itself against the spine, the very heart of her nervous system.
John Braun, M.D., University of Utah Hospital: “It is a complex tumor to get to, and in the early hours of the morning after I was called, I didn’t sleep very well thinking about the location of the tumor and the approach.”
The approach involves teams of doctors and support caregivers from the University of Utah, Primary Children's hospitals and the Huntsman Cancer Institute, all coming together. They pulled off the surgery and removed the tumor and now hope to pull off the second phase of Christy's treatment.
Christy Standler: “Like I was almost paralyzed and they were all saying I would never walk again. But I did.”
Richard Lemons, M.D., PhD, Primary Children's Hospital: “She’s really come a long way in a short time, of regaining function and being able to walk now.”
John Braun, M.D.: "The second day after surgery, Christy had told me that she had stood up, which, that made my year. That was awesome."
But it's not over yet. Primary Children's will continue the attack -- an aggressive protocol established at selected children's hospitals around the country. Christy will be in chemotherapy for about a year now. Despite the aggressiveness of her Ewing Sarcoma, despite the size of the tumor, her prognosis right now looks excellent.
Richard Lemons, M.D.: “She’s got an excellent prognosis, about a 70 percent chance of a cure without this coming back.”