Family details experience of having baby diagnosed with cancer during a pandemic

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 10:53 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Elaina Cox is now four months old and has led her family in an unexpected fight since she was born.

“She had some sort of a mass that we didn’t know a whole lot about. They were originally thinking it was on her kidney, turns out it was on her adrenal gland,” Melanie Cox, Elaina’s mother, said.

Elaina was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer.

“It’s hard to hear your newborn baby is sick, as it is. And then you hear cancer and chemo, all kinds of stuff like that, without being there,” Melanie said.

“These times are extremely stressful for families and some news is good, and some news is not good,” Dr. Mariko Sato, an oncologist at UIHC, said.

Sato said Elaina’s diagnosis is treatable and that she will need chemotherapy to recover. For the family, it’s hasn’t been easy making regular trips to the hospital to battle cancer, especially during a pandemic.

“Not used to that, this big old swab going in your nose,” Melanie said.

More importantly, when Elaina comes into the hospital, only one parent can go with her.

“So if she was there and they were telling her things, then they want to bring a bunch of people to be her support group, and I’m like ‘no, that’s not right. We support each other,‘” James Cox, Elaina’s father, said. “Then she’s got to try to tell me what the doctor said and if she makes something up or misunderstood something, and we both have different questions for everyone.”

Making the times family can see each other, priceless. It’s been four long, challenging months, but the family has a reason to be optimistic: while the type of cancer is rare, a cure is possible.

“We are extremely hopeful that she will be in remission soon. We were still in the process, but her tumor is responding to the chemotherapy very well,” Sato said.

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