A baby girl who had a tumour the 'size of a football' growing inside her that made up almost half her body weight has finally been given the all clear
A baby girl who had a tumour the ‘size of a football’ growing inside her that made up almost half her body weight has finally been given the all clear, after beating the rare cancer twice.
Milena Krakowiska, now aged two, was diagnosed with kidney cancer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital when she was just two months old after her grandmother noticed her swollen stomach.
Doctors then discovered an enormous 2kg tumour with Milena weighing just 5kg at the time.
Now, after gruelling bouts of chemotherapy, surgery and tests as she battled the rare Mesoblastic nephroma, she has been given the all clear and received a special award from Cancer Research UK.
Milena Krakowiska, aged two, has now been given the all clear after fighting off a rare cancer twice
Her battle with the rare disease began just a few weeks after her birth in February 2016.
When her swollen stomach didn’t go away, Milena was referred to Walsall Manor Hospital, in the West Midlands, for tests and in April 2016 she was diagnosed with the rare type of kidney cancer that mainly affects very young children.
Milena’s mother Dominika, 26, from Walsall, said: ‘When they did an ultrasound at hospital I knew immediately something was wrong because the staff looked at each other with shocked expressions on their faces.
‘I was too confused and scared to ask questions about what they said.
She was just two months old when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
‘After a lot more tests and a biopsy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, one of the doctors sat me down and spelled it out.
‘He said there was a huge tumour inside Milena and said it was probably cancer.
‘I couldn’t believe it – I sat and cried for hours and hours. Everything was a blur.’
Milena immediately began chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumour before surgery, but the treatment had absolutely no effect.
Milena Krakowiska with her brother Marcel. She was a baby when she battled the rare Mesoblastic nephroma
Ms Krakowiska, who works as a translator, added: ‘The chemotherapy didn’t work and the tumour kept growing – it just seemed to balloon before our eyes.
‘They decided to operate and try to remove it.
‘I will never forget the surgeon telling me afterwards that the tumour was the size of a football and weighed 2kg. Milena herself only weighed 5kg.
‘Luckily they got all but a tiny area of it out, but it had totally destroyed one of Milena’s kidneys.’
Milena was given time to recover from her operation before having more treatment, but after only a few weeks Ms Krakowiska was sure the tumour was growing again.
Her grandmother noticed Milena’s swollen stomach and doctors found a tumour weighing 2kg – with the baby girl only weighing 5kg at the time
She said: ‘I asked to see the consultant and he immediately sent her for an MRI scan, mainly to reassure me.
‘We were all staggered when the scan showed the tumour was not only growing but was nearly as big as it had been in the first place.
‘But this time it wasn’t in just one place, it had spread and was wrapped around her veins and arteries. There was no way they could operate again.’
Doctors decided the only way they could save Milena’s life was with a new more intensive form of chemotherapy.
She became very sick, lost her hair, and had to be fed through a tube for months.
After initial treatment, the tumour came back and doctors decided the only way they could save Milena’s life was with a new more intensive form of chemotherapy
Not wanting her child to go through the torture alone, Ms Krakowiska spent a month sleeping in the hospital at her daughter’s side while her son Marcel, threel stayed with his father.
Ms Krakowiska and her children’s father are no longer together.
In April 2017, Milena was sent for an MRI scan to see if the chemotherapy was working and doctors discovered that only a fragment of the tumour remained.
By June, it had completely disappeared.
Ms Krakowiska added: ‘It felt unbelievable. At last, after everything she’d been through, we could see light at the end of the tunnel.
‘Milena has made an amazing recovery. She has scans every three months but she’s very well.
Milena became very sick, lost her hair, and had to be fed through a tube for months while being treated
In April 2017, Milena was sent for an MRI scan to see if the chemotherapy was working and doctors discovered that only a fragment of the tumour remained
‘Now she talks like an adult, is full of mischief, never does what she’s told, and is always smiling.
‘Even when she was having chemotherapy she was always smiling. She’s just one of those children whose heart is full of joy.’
Milena has also been recognised with a special award from Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens, in partnership with TK Maxx.
Cancer Research UK spokeswoman Jane Redman said: ‘Milena is a real star, it has been an absolute privilege to be able to recognise her courage by giving her a Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Star Award.
‘She has been through so much at such a young age.
Since her recovery, she has been recognised with a special award from Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens
‘Cancer can have a devastating impact on children and young people and many of those who survive may live with serious long-term side effects from their treatment.
‘Our mission is to fund research to find new, better and kinder treatments for young cancer patients in the West Midlands, and across the UK.
‘We want to bring forward the day when every child and young person survives cancer and does so with a good quality of life.’
The event is backed by a host of famous faces, such as Strictly Come Dancing’s Dr Ranj, Dame Emma Thompson, Una Healy and former JLS singer Aston Merrygold.
Milena received a certificate signed by the stars, as well as a £50 TK Maxx gift card. Her brother Marcel also received a certificate.