Moving Forward

9 months.  It’s crazy to believe that it’s been 9 months since we heard of Sophie’s tumor recurrence.  9 months of fear, doubt, and endless questions; but also hope, love, and the support of our amazing family and friends, and our team at Sloan.  People often say time flies by; in our case, this has been some of the longest months of our lives, but our incredible “Super Sophie” has powered through like no other.

We have never seen a child, any child, eat the way Sophie has eaten through her chemotherapy” – Jessie, one of Sophie’s incredible nurse practitioners at Sloan

“I want a cookie!” –  Sophie, immediately after waking up from her tremendous 8+ hour tumor resection surgery

“Mommy, are we going to school today?  I’m so sorry Soph, today we’re going to the hospital.  Ok, but maybe I’ll see some of my friends there!!” – Sophie’s response when learning it was a hospital day instead of a school day.

These are just a few of the amazing gifts we’ve experienced with Sophie over the last 9 months.  To say she is special is an understatement; countless people have mentioned to us how resilient, brave and adaptable our Sophie is to her ever-changing daily routine.  We could not be more proud of her as an individual, and feel so lucky to have her teaching us what it truly means to live in the moment.

On October 29th, Sophie began her final chemotherapy treatment (hopefully forever) for her tumor recurrence.  As always, chemo is never an easy week, but Sophie managed to make it through with smiles and laughter. She provided manicure services for any nurses and patients who wanted one, and  brought in her super capes to share her “super-powers” with everyone else.

The week was filled with both happiness but also anxiety for our family.  We’d already experienced a “final chemotherapy treatment” last year and are therefore reasonably hesitant to experience the same feelings of relief we felt during her first cancer diagnosis.  As we have mentioned in the past, once a child is diagnosed with cancer, there a lifelong fear that the cancer will return at some point in the future, and this fear sits at the forefront of a parent’s mind for years to come.  So while we are pleased that her treatment is now complete, it is difficult for us to feel completely “out of the woods” at this time.

Sophie underwent another round of post-chemo scans in the middle of November.  We are relieved to report that again, these scans came back clear of disease. Moving forward, Sophie will be able to attend school more frequently, and will return for check-ups once a month to “flush” her port and meet with her team at Sloan.  She will also continue to have scans at the hospital.

We are beyond grateful to the “army” of individuals that have treated Sophie at Sloan now for over 2 years.  It is impossible to mention every doctor, nurse, or volunteer that has in some small way made this journey a bit easier for us, but through it all, they have supported us, held us, and cried with us through times of difficulty and pain and for that we could not be more appreciative.

To our family and friends who have supported us through this long and difficult journey; thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  A pediatric cancer diagnosis can be one of the most isolating experiences a parent will ever face, and every text, message, call, or conversation truly made a world of difference to help us get through the day.

Finally, we have learned through our journey that pediatric cancer research receives only the tiniest portion of government funding for research.  Although it is the #2 killer of children in the United States, only 4% of the nation’s cancer funding goes to pediatrics. This number is astounding to us and the many parents whose children have been diagnosed with this terrible disease.  We need everyone’s help to continue to raise awareness to increase funding for kids like Sophie. At end of year or when planning your charitable contributions, please consider donating to a pediatric cancer charity, or an organization that helps kids with cancer or their families.  These organizations often act as lifeline for families like us during times of unimaginable challenge, and can make even the most painful times just a bit easier to handle.

12 Replies to “Moving Forward”

  1. Jennifer Seligman says: Reply

    Glad to hear there’s hope. We’re here for you guys. Refuah sheleimah.

  2. We hope that Sophie only continues to bring smiles to those around her and that we hear positive news from the medical team! Her giggle is contagious!!! Go Sophie!

  3. Thank you for posting and sharing your heart!!!

  4. We are thinking of you all and hope Sophie stays in the clear.

  5. Chava Shalva Gavriella, continues B”H to be in my Tefillot Daily and My Weekly Dvar Torah at Shevii & Rabbi’s lunch table
    She’s a “real true trooper” and we “all” have learned and continue to from her b ravery and resolve
    Go Team Sophie!

  6. Talia Furleiter says: Reply

    so happy to hear that Sophie is doing well!

  7. Reuben Shmuel Mizrahi says: Reply

    Yay Chava Shalva Gabriella (Sophie)!! I’m so happy to hear you’re doing well. You should continue to feel better and better every day, to be able to eat lots of cookies and have fun with your friends.
    Gd bless you, neshema, with tons of love, strength and happiness!

  8. I dont know Sophie, or any of her wonderfully strong family members. I started following “love for Sophie” almost by accident. But i have been really touched and felt compelled to read every post. I have had her name in my thoughts and prayers. And i am so so happy to hear how she is doing. I Pray for her contunued health.

  9. Jessica Rothenberg Ross says: Reply

    Thinking of you and sending lots of love

  10. Michael Rosenzweig says: Reply

    Very beautiful news my friends so so happy for you all / and your beautiful Sophie . Sophie is in my prayers to stay clear / always be well / healthy / happy , May the light of Chanukah bring Sophie only comfort good health / healing .

    Shalom be well a beautiful Chanukah Sameach my friends your all in my prayers

    The happiest of Chanukahs my friends

  11. Terry Lefkowitz says: Reply

    Don’t know Sophie, but daven for her regularly. Learned about her from someone in your area and have followed her progress. BH it appears that all will be ok, but know that many are davening for your super Sophie. May we only hear good news and may Chava Shalva Gavriella have a refuah shelimah.

  12. Rita-Rivka Lewy says: Reply

    Dear Spangenthals, I am Rita-Rivka Lewy, ex Teaneck, now Yerushalayim.i have been friends with Cheryl and Selwyn the grandparents long before you were born. It is astounding to me that your beautiful shiny Chava Shalva Gavriella is so strong and bli ayin Hara, such a LIGHTHOYSE to so many. Friends are davening for her and you all over the world. May the current good news take root and continue on into easier, happier years. For us all, life is fragile..we see so much how that is so here too. But -as your gorgeous girl models for us all, life is NOW. The only choices we have are NOW in THIS moment. To choose love, courage, gratitude, smiling, being real, being kind, being mevater, caring, helpful, supportive, United in achdut!!! May HKBH continue to give you the clarity and ability to hold these truths front and center as you continue this journey called life with your precious daughter and son. With love and chizuk.xxxx

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