One in a million find in baby’s stomach
Three pea-sized lumps was all it took to ultimately make a frightening discovery in an 11-month-old baby.
Emma Bane had been changing her daughter Grace Bridges' nappy in November last year when she spotted the worrying lumps in the child's groin.
Emma and Grace's dad Adam Bridges had already spent months taking her to doctors, knowing something wasn't right.
"We knew something was wrong with her but didn't know what," Ms Bane said.
"Her fingernails were dented, she was throwing up, had continuous low-grade fevers and later on loose nappies and projectile vomiting. We noticed she didn't want to crawl around anymore and when she walked from one end of the couch to the other she was tired."
The parents were due to take her for a scan, but when Grace became really sick on January 21, she was rushed to The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, where doctors suspected the Dural tot had a tumour on her liver.
But no one could have prepared for just how serious Grace's condition was.
"Because her cancer was so advanced, by the time she got to hospital they had never seen anyone with her tumour markers before in their 25-year career," Ms Bane said.
Doctors said they weren't even sure if Grace would survive the next 24 hours.
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Grace's tumour was double the size of what the doctors had originally thought and it was on its way to her kidneys.
"At some point, some of the tumour had broken off and travelled into Grace's lung," Ms Bane said.
"She also had blood clots or little tumours throughout her lungs. She also had what they couldn't decide was a blood clot or tumour in her pulmonary artery.
"The tumour on her liver was so big it had started to sit on and squash other organs."
Ms Bane said they found cancer in Grace's stomach and basically all of her torso. It had spread everywhere but her heart, brain and bones.
Grace was diagnosed with metastatic hepatoblastoma and has since then spent more than 100 days in hospital.
"It's a rare cancer that affects only one in a million children and because hers was so big it has put her at high risk," Ms Bane said.
"They weren't even sure of her survival rates because they had never seen anyone like Grace before."
Grace was put on emergency chemotherapy that night, and despite doctors' fears, she managed to make it through that crucial 24 hours.
"She pulled through and she's still fighting 11 months later," Ms Bane said.
"We had an absolute miracle happen to us because her latest chemo regimen was her last option for us and the doctors can't explain it, but it's working. It's a miracle."
The family is now awaiting new scans and results this week to be sure the chemo is working.
Meanwhile, Grace continues to amaze her proud parents, who are now raising money for her ongoing treatment through a GoFundMe page.
"She's such a trooper; she smiles at everything," Ms Bane said.
"She has tea parties while having chemo. We call her our little warrior princess.
"She's our little miracle."
Originally published as One in a million find in baby's stomach