Like bungee jumpers hurtling from the heights of jubilation to the depths of despair and back again, Salmon Arm’s Krawczyk family has been living an exhausting emotional journey.
A journey which at present has them, as the Prince song goes and Carolyn says, “partying like it’s 1999!”
The Krawczyks – Carolyn, Matt, Hunter and Halle – are in Pittsburgh because 12-year-old Halle has been undergoing surgeries to remove tumours from a rare, one-in-20-million spinal cancer called ‘poorly differentiated chordoma.’
On Jan. 20, 22 and 26 she underwent surgeries performed by a world-renowned doctor and his team. The first two operations removed a tumour on the two upper vertebrae and the clivus behind the nose, while the third surgery fused Halle’s spine.
The surgeries went well and the family was ecstatic. But the feeling was not to last, after a red mass on Halle’s chest wall was noticed. A CT scan revealed it had a blood supply so was likely the spread of the chordoma.
Joy plummeted to despair.
“We were all assuming the worst,” Carolyn said. “We have been in dark places!”
However, on Feb. 4, the tears shed were tears of joy.
Doctors reported the mass on Halle’s side was from surgical positioning, being stuck in one position for so many hours. It was not a cancerous growth.
On Feb. 11 Halle had her second follow-up appointment and received more good news. Scans showed there was no sign of cancer anywhere in her body.
“Yep! You read that right!” Carolyn wrote.
“We will always hope this disease won’t rear its head again,” she went on. “Our doctor reminded us of the reality of what we are dealing with… that Chordoma typically recurs. Being stage 4 has always complicated things but Halle is this Phenom and we will keep all hope!
“This past four years have been such an emotional roller coaster! We’re hoping to be able to breathe easier for a while. Everyone here is elated and I know you will all be celebrating this amazing news too!!” Carolyn wrote on social media.
She reiterated how strong Halle has been.
“Halle is doing fantastic! The girl deserves a superhero suit! She has been through some rough stuff! It is hard for Matt and I to even watch some of it but Halle champions all of it.”
Halle sent Carolyn the video below after coming home from their good news appointment.
Carolyn added this explanation on social media: “(It’s ok, she really only needs the brace in case she falls. She is still wearing it throughout the day and only removes it for night.) She’s back to her goofy antics!”
The Krawczyks will stay in Pittsburgh for the next three weeks before going to Boston for proton beam radiation to take care of any remaining cells in the three surgical areas that would not be visible.
Carolyn said she and Matt marvel at Hallle’s wonderful medical team.
“We have a stellar group of very specialized doctors in close communication regarding Halle – all helping with and overseeing her case. I’ve never seen this in my life.”