Jacksonville – Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare cancer that affects muscle tissue, normally found in children, but that wasn’t the first diagnosis when Ziyanna Houston’s face began to swell while she was out of town with her divine mother for the summer.
“We took her to Memorial, in Miami, and they told her she had a stable,” said Carol Houston, Ziyanna’s mother. “Two weeks later it didn’t get any smaller, so we took her back.”
That’s when they took a biopsy, and when they returned to Jacksonville, they discovered it was cancer.
“I really didn’t know what it was,” Carol says. “They gave me this big book to read, read about it, but didn’t read too much into it.”
She says the news was hard for the whole family to understand, but treatment started pretty quickly. The doctors explained the process in this way and the battle to beat cancer began.
“When I found out I had cancer, it was sad, but then I got used to it,” Ziyana says.
She says the chemotherapy took a lot out of her at times, but the staff helped make it a little better.
“They’re very nice,” Ziyanna says. “They’re all nice.”
Ziyanna says she was very nervous when she first came in for treatments. Then she got used to it and the nerves disappeared.
Her mother says the Children’s Cancer Fund has been an incredible help during difficult times. Carol says they reached a difficult point where she had to stop working as a manager at McDonald’s because Ziyaanna was undergoing so many treatments.
“They contacted me and wanted to know how they could help me and my family,” Carol says. “They gave us food gift cards to help us a little bit with groceries. They paid my rent and my lamps a few times.”
She says before embarking on the journey, she had no idea there was so much help for families going through such a massive crisis.
“It takes a big relief from you,” Carol says.
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