Kyssi was diagnosed at the age of three with a rare form of cancer called Wilm’s Tumor (kidney cancer) on May 1, 2012. Like many kids who are diagnosed she had NO prior symptoms or pain. She was attending daycare every day, playing with her friends and being a perfectly normal three year old little girl (so we thought). She started urinating blood and eventually started to experience some abdominal pain. On May 1, 2012 she was rushed to a nearby hospital emergency room where she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor. She was transferred immediately to another local hospital via ambulance for further diagnosis and treatment. Kyssi had two surgeries on May 4, 2012 to remove her right kidney and the cantaloupe sized cancerous tumor and to place a portal catheter (port) in her chest.
Shortly after surgery was performed, she started a very aggressive/extensive radiation and chemotherapy treatment which consisted of four different chemo drugs. She had non-stop chemo treatments weekly since her treatments started in May 2012. The last of her treatments were in November 2012 which is when she was considered in remission for the 1st time (such a GREAT day).
March 1, 2013, Kyssi went back to the hospital for what was thought to have been just a follow-up appointment for her three month checkup and scans after being in remission, not knowing that we’d return home with our lives and hearts changed yet “AGAIN”. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Wilm's Tumor that had metastasized (moved/spread) in both of her lungs and was given 30-40% chance of survival. That was the “report of the doctors”….our heart and mind was yet made up to wait on the “report of the LORD”. Ever since that day, life has been ever so different for us. She had surgery on her left lung to remove the cancer in her lung (which left her with one partial lung and one whole lung) and later was placed on a totally different chemotherapy regimen. This regimen was much stronger than what she had taken before, and it kept her a lot sicker. Kyssi had over 200 blood and platelet transfusions combined, MORE frequent hospital stays and emergency room visits, constant severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of sleep and also the loss of her hair for the 2nd time due to treatments. She’s definitely the toughest kid that most people knew. After tolerating chemotherapy and radiation treatments well, January 17, 2014 was a very HAPPY day. We were PROUD to announce to family and supporters that our little Kyssi was in REMISSION and had "Kicked CANCER in the Butt" for the second time.
Unfortunately that remission status didn’t last but three short months. On April 10, 2014 Kyssi was due to have her three month scans. On April 11, 2014 she was re-diagnosed with Stage IV Wilm's Tumor that had metastasized in her lung again for the second time and at that point was given a 20% chance of survival.
May 12, 2014 Kyssi underwent her second lung surgery, which left her with two partial lungs. After surgery, we were informed that there were NO MORE treatment options for her condition other than the surgery that she had just undergone….imagine being told that. Shortly after careful consideration and research, her AMAZING Oncologist offered (without being able to give any medical or definite guarantees) an "experimental" chemotherapy treatment that was NOT necessarily for the type of cancer that Kyssi had. We opted to have the treatment and she responded well to it. Her team of doctors felt as if she needed additional treatment outside of chemotherapy in an effort to remove as much cancer from her body as possible. At this point a stem-cell transplant was discussed, agreed on and prepared for.
February 17, 2015 Kyssi had another surgical procedure (central line placement in her groin) done for the purpose of collection and harvesting her “own” stem cells.
February 18-20, 2015 the collection process started and ended.
March 30, 2015 Kyssi was admitted and had another surgical procedure to have another central line placed and was ready for the month long hospital stay, HIGH dose chemotherapy treatment and stem cell transplant.
March 31 – April 5, 2015 HIGH dose chemo was given daily.
April 6, 2015 Kyssi had her stem cell transplant…..”RESTORATION DAY”!!!!!
April 7, 2015 Kyssi was admitted into the ICU unit because she had gone into renal failure (kidney) and would be required to have daily dialysis treatments. Shortly after being admitted into the ICU unit other major issues started to happen and more extensive treatment was needed.
April 26, 2015 things started to drastically change with Kyssi’s health and she was incubated, transferred to another local hospital ICU for more extensive treatment and immediately started around the clock dialysis treatment.
June 7, 2015, (7th, the day of completion) at 1:57 am on a Sunday morning, Kyssi “WON” her battle against pediatric CANCER, received her WINGS, became an ANGEL and is resting peacefully with in Heaven GOD.
Cancer was a cruel component of Kyssi’s childhood, but she still seemed to find a way to SMILE in the midst of adversity. Anywhere she went, she was “QUICK” to strike a pose and SMILE for the camera. She was so smart beyond her years, polite, friendly, very talkative and friendly no matter where she was or who she came in contact with.
Kyssi’s Favorite Slogan:
*** I’m Gonna Kick Cancer Right in the Butt ***
Although she is dearly missed we are ever so BLESSED and GRATEFUL for all of Kyssi’s REMISSION statuses and the fact that the entire WORLD was blessed to be a part of the daily SMILES, FIGHT, STRENGTH, NEVER GIVE UP SPIRIT and journey of an earthly ANGEL via her popular Facebook and Instagram social media pages.
Kyssi’s story did not end, her LEGACY continues with the Kyssi Andrews Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.