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Addison Miles will celebrate her second birthday Monday in the hospital, a place with which she has become far too familiar during her short life.
Addison was stricken with acute lymphoblastic at just a few months of age and has been in and out of Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville for most of those months as she battled for her life.
She was able to go home and spend last Christmas at home and had been doing very well, her grandfather, David Miles, said, until about two and a half weeks ago.
“She went into the hospital October eighth, and they did blood work on her, and they saw these juvenile cells, and they knew they were cancer,” he said. “But at that point they didn’t know what kind of cancer it was. They did more tests and found out it was the return of her leukemia.”
Addison’s battle for her life has commanded the attention of many in Shelby County, who rallied around her family – her parents, Daniel and Rachel Miles, her sister, Abby, and her grandfather – through three bone marrow transplants, helping to find donors from among hundreds of volunteers in Jefferson and Shelby counties.
She had her first stem cell transplant July 18, 2012, with four transplant boosts in the following weeks, which were additional stem cells given because the transplanted cells couldn’t grow fast enough to develop her new immune system.
The doctors learned last Oct. 31 that she had lost her first stem cell engraftment, which basically meant her body was rejecting the transplanted cells. Addison underwent three days of chemotherapy and had a second transplant on Nov. 6.
On Nov. 30, when Rachel Miles took her daughter back to the hospital for a checkup, she got heartbreaking news: Addison needed another transplant, and her port line had failed for the ninth time.
But Addison’s health improved enough for her to go home for Christmas, and she had been doing well, Miles said.
Now she has just undergone a new round of chemo at Kosair and also is being treated for an infection in her port.
“She’s in the hospital recovering from that right now,” he said, adding that doctors are hopeful that they can get her into remission again.
“It’s a serious issue,” he said. “If everything goes well, they will discharge her from the hospital to let her recover from the chemo treatment. Then they have to do some more tests to see if the cancer is in remission. If she is, they can look at treatments. Right now, we’re just trying to defeat the cancer again to get it into remission. If we can’t, she may end up in the children’s hospital in Cincinnati. It’s so frustrating to see her go through this again when she was doing so well. She was really coming on like gang busters and so this has really slowed her down.”
Miles said Addison’s parents are hanging in there and trying to persevere as always.
“They’re doing as well as can be expected; they’re living at the hospital seven days a week,” he said. “The chemo cycle is pretty hard on Addison, so they stayed with her.”
A family friend, Shelby County Magistrate Tony Carriss, one of the many friends who have been supportive of the family, said he was very saddened to hear of the child’s illness.
“She and her entire family are certainly in the hearts and prayers of this entire community,” he said.