When Rob and Missy Moore noticed a knot on their daughter's neck they made an appointment with her doctor who diagnosed it as a swollen lymph node and told them to monitor the area for changes. After several trips to the family doctor and then to a specialist, an oncologist decided to perform a biopsy on the lymph node. During the surgery to remove the lymph node, the surgeon discovered a tumor the size of a small chicken egg behind it. The tumor was removed and biopsied and Rob and Missy were told that Kyla had Stage 3 Neuroblastoma.
"We didn't understand it," Rob said. "We were in shock for two or three weeks."
Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops from nerve cells found in several areas of the body, is usually found in infants and young children. It is the most common form of cancer in children and approximately 650 new cases are reported every year in the United States.
Doctors at Cook Children's immediately started treating the then two-year old Kyla and in her short life she has had six rounds of high dose chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, radiation, six months of immunotherapy, countless surgeries, and was unable to eat or drink anything for over 8 months due to a swallow dysfunction.
Since Kyla's tumor was in her neck, she also has a lifelong syndrome called Horner's Syndrome. This syndrome affects her ability to sweat on one side of her face. So, when she gets hot, her face turns bright red on one side only.
Rob and Missy say so much of their strength comes from Kyla. "It's hard to have a pity party when she's not," Missy said. "She doesn't gripe, so I don't feel like I have the right to," Rob said. "Even after she has a shot, she'll perk up."
Currently disease free, Kyla, now six, only goes to Cook Children's once every three months for scans. On her last visit, they discovered she has an issue with her thyroid in her neck where her cancer originated. Thankfully this newest development can be treated with medication.
"We are so thankful for Cook Children's and the wonderful doctors and nurses," said Missy. "Kyla calls Cook Children's "her hospital" and it has been her home away from home for a large portion of her life."