As a Licensed Massage Therapist, Pamela knew every inch of her baby girl’s body. So when she felt a golf ball-sized lump in her one-year-old daughter Skylar’s abdomen, she knew something wasn’t quite right.
After two months of fevers, blood tests, and ultimately an imaging exam, Pamela and her husband, Trever, learned Skylar had hepatoblastoma. They made an appointment with Darrell Yamashiro, MD, PhD, a pediatric liver cancer specialist at NYP/Morgan Stanley Children’s, traveling to Manhattan from their home in New Milford, Connecticut.
Under Dr. Yamashiro’s guidance, in April 2010, Skylar began treatment with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor to reduce the risk of complications during surgical resection. The surgery was performed by Tomoaki Kato, MD, an internationally renowned transplant surgeon, and afterward Skylar continued to receive combination chemotherapy to destroy any residual tumor cells.
She completed her treatment that September. Today Skylar is a bright-eyed 6-year-old who enjoys swimming, dance class, and gymnastics and who has no evidence of disease.
Although liver tumors are rare in children (they account for only one to two percent of childhood cancers), they can be very complex, and require a multidisciplinary approach for optimal management. Families of children with liver tumors who come to NYP/Morgan Stanley Children’s for their care meet with all members of the child’s healthcare team right from the beginning, and all team members collaborate regularly throughout the child’s Skylar with Darrell Yamashiro, MD, and Debra Holmberg, PNP treatment to ensure that care is delivered effectively and compassionately.
Pamela was especially appreciative of the Division’s integrative medicine services, taking advantage of aromatherapy to ease her daughter’s nausea and discomfort, and chair massage for her own relaxation.
The doctors and all the staff blew us away. They were highly professional and open-minded, and welcomed us and our daughter. Their teamwork was just amazing.