Story of Healing
Nine-year-old, Macy Guidry, was expecting to get her tonsils out just like her older brother. Maybe it was time, her mom Anna Marie thought, since she was experiencing some issues with her nose and throat.
But after visiting her local ear, nose, and throat physician in Prairieville, and getting some additional scans done at the hospital, the doctor called Macy’s mom to let her know he had found a tumor. Macy was immediately referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. Soon after, Macy was diagnosed with a type of pediatric cancer called Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, or ERMS.
“What I remember most about those first couple weeks at Children’s was the decision to start Macy’s treatment,” said Anna Marie. “I knew Macy was going to get sicker before things got better, but I knew I needed to keep the faith and trust the process.”
It became much easier for Macy’s parents to trust the process when Dr. Maria Velez walked in. Dr. Velez, an Children’s Hospital oncologist, treated Macy’s dad Chad when he battled cancer as a child.
“A lot of folks asked us why we didn’t go to other well-known hospitals in other parts of the country,” said Anna Marie. “The fact that Children’s Hospital saved my husband’s life when he was battling cancer twenty years ago was all the credibility we needed. It was such a blessing to have Dr. Velez treat Macy after she had such a major role in helping Chad.”
Dr. Velez shared a similar reflection: “Helping Chad so many years ago and now taking care of his daughter, Macy have been one of my greatest honors. They are both amazing in their own way. What I admired the most during both journeys through cancer treatment was the support that they had from their family and loved ones. Most importantly they allowed me to be part of their journey as their Pediatric Oncologist.”
Macy’s treatment took a toll on her body. Macy endured nearly a year of chemotherapy and several weeks of radiation. She lost her hair, used a feeding tube to eat, and became lethargic and incredibly fatigued. Macy also lost a lot of muscle strength and had to undergo physical therapy in addition to her cancer treatment.
Despite such a grueling treatment plan, Macy stayed positive throughout and never let go of her feisty attitude. Soon after Macy completed her treatment, she began to show steady improvement; she was getting stronger, had a better appetite and her hair started to grow back.
“Macy really owned every stage of her hair growing back,” said Anna Marie, with a laugh. “She tried different hairstyles with each stage and it was so fun to see her personality shine through that period of time.”
Since Macy entered remission in 2019, she is thriving. She loves going to school, swimming, being outdoors, cooking, and she takes tumbling classes at the local gym. After the toll that chemotherapy and radiation took on her body, her mom marvels at how far she’s come in being able to use her strength in this way.
“Macy’s diagnosis was a dark time and a life-changing experience,” said Anna Marie. “But the staff and providers at Children’s Hospital made our time so comfortable and it really meant a lot to us that we were able to see familiar faces from the time we walked into our first appointment to when Macy entered remission. The doctors and nurses cared about Macy and how she was feeling and always noticed when her demeanor changed, whether it was a bad day or a good day.”
The Center for Cancer and Blood disorders cares for more children, like Macy, than any other facility in the state combined. Click here to learn more about our program and providers.