The family of a two-year-old girl is staying strong after the toddler was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer last month.
McKenna Shae Xydias, known to her family and friends as “Kenni” has begun chemotherapy for an ovarian yolk sac tumour, after doctors initially believed the Senoia, Ga girl was suffering from a distended stomach due to gas.
Parents Mike and Meagan Xydias say the first became aware that something was wrong with the youngest of their three children a month ago, when they received a phone call from her daycare informing them she had a fever.
On February 7, the daycare called again to tell the parents, both of whom are teachers, that Kenni’s stomach was bloated, and seemed uncomfortable.
“We took her to the doctor – at that point they thought it was gas so they told us to give her gas drops and let them know if she got anymore fevers,” Mike Xydias told Good Morning America.
A week later, the parents were asked to pick up their daughter who was running a fever of 102. “I pick her up, I have to stay home with her the next day,” Xydias continued. “The whole [next] day she was fine. no temperature. But she had difficulty using the bathroom. Meagan made an appointment for her February 14 in the afternoon. That day the daycare called. She had a fever of 103.”
The family’s pediatrician performed an X-ray on Kenni, telling her mother that her bowels “looked full.”
Sensing something wasn’t right, Meagan Xydias immediately took the toddler to the hospital, where an ultra-sound detected a mass around Kenni’s ovaries.
The parents later learned that their daughter had several cancerous tumours, referred to as yolk sac or germ cell tumours, throughout her abdomen, as well as one 14 cm long near her right ovary, and another near her liver.
“The immediate reaction was, ‘How could this happen?'” Xydias recalled of hearing the news. “I knew of this being [more common] in women. I didn’t realize that it could happen to such a young kid.”
Kenni began her first round of chemo on February 27th after doctors removed her right ovary and five inches of her small intestine. Despite the stage 3 cancer diagnosis and numerous procedures, Kenni remains in good spirits.
“I know Meagan and I both agree that Kenni is our hero with how she’s dealing with this,” Kenni’s father said. “She is a ball of energy and a stereotypical 2-year-old. She’s the youngest child, where she is the boss and she’s extremely stubborn, which a great character trait in going to fight cancer. She doesn’t let anything stop her.”
Kenni’s mother hopes the family’s story will encourage parents to trust their instincts and seek answers.
“I know it can be hard as a mom to go to your doctor and say, ‘Something is not right’ because they know what they’re doing, but sometimes you have to trust your gut,” Meagan Xydias said. “I hope after hearing Kenni’s story people are willing to say, ‘Hey, can you do one more check?'”
The family created the Facebook group “Fight With Kenni” to keep their friends and family updated on Kenni’s progress, and raise awareness for her condition which although rare, often effects children under the age of two.
A “Fight With Kenni” GoFundMe account has been set up offset the family’s costs so that the parents can be with Kenni throughout her battle.