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Raegan’s Story: Wilms Tumor Treatment at Mott Children’s Hospital

mott blog - raegan kromer block out cancerChristina Kromer looks back on it as a real whirlwind.

“It all happened so quickly,” said Christina of her daughter Raegan’s journey at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Her 16-month-old daughter Raegan seemed to be doing fine. She was a happy baby — very social and playful. She wasn’t showing any symptoms of distress.

So Christina, of Howell, was terrified when she went to change her daughter’s diaper before a nap one afternoon to find blood — lots of it.

Her local pediatrician told the Kromers to come to her office in Howell right away. There, after an ultrasound, Raegan was directed to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

“They were expecting us,” Christina and her husband Benjamin said about their initial experience at Mott. “They had a fellow from the surgery department ready to see us.”

Raegan underwent a CT scan and doctors confirmed the problem. Raegan’s right kidney had a form of kidney cancer known as a Wilms tumor, or nephroblastoma.

Wilms tumor occurs in about 1 out of 200,000 to 250,000 children and predominantly affects young children (under age 5). It is the most common form of childhood kidney cancer.

Fortunately for Raegan and her family, the Solid Tumor Oncology Program team C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is a leader in Wilm’s Tumor treatment, with a multidisciplinary team of specialists mobilized to evaluate each patient in a single visit, create a customized treatment plan and begin individualized treatment plan immediately.

Doctors immediately scheduled the Kromers to return the next day to meet the team who would be caring for Raegan during treatment.

Raegan Kromer with Aghiad Chamdin, MDWhen they returned, they met the pediatric surgery team, led by pediatric surgeon Erika Newman, MD, and the pediatric oncology team, led by Brenda Kitchen, MD, as well as nurse practitioner Erica Southworth.

Raegan was admitted onto Mott’s seventh floor – the pediatric cancer unit – and booked for surgery the following morning.

While in surgery, doctors successfully and safely removed her right kidney and were unable find any signs that the cancer had spread.

Raegan recovered well and was sent home four days later.

“She has great since,” Christina said. Raegan, who turns 2 in October 2012, returns to Mott every three months for tests, usually an ultrasound or an MRI.

“We were lucky that it was caught really early,” she added.

In addition to the care Raegan received at Mott, the Kromers appreciated the amenities.

“I was very impressed with the inpatient unit on the 7th floor, and that they have conveniences for parents who are spending the night, particularly those who stay for longer,” said Christina, a nurse who did a rotation at the University of Michigan Health System.

“The ability to do laundry was a huge help,” she added. “I wasn’t going to go home just to get a change of clothes.”

“When the Kromers returns to Mott for tests, Christina appreciates that appointments are coordinated so that she can get everything done in a single visit.

“They draw her blood, get her urine, they do everything when she’s sleeping, which is nice,” adding that Raegan is not particularly fond of medical procedures.

Raegan is now doing extremely well, Christina says.

“I don’t think she realizes all that’s happened. She knows something is going on and she has gotten better about tests and things.”

Outside of the hospital, she’s very social, her mom said.

“She’s very playful, very active, she loves the zoo, and her favorite animal is a giraffe,” she said.  “And, she is a very love-y kid.”

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best children's hospital

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” in 2014, and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine.