Victoria Martinsen’s Courageous Battle with Cancer
On January 3rd 2007, Victoria fell down a couple of steps and hurt her hip/tail bone. Little did the Martinsen family know that this minor incident would start them down a journey that would forever change their lives. Following visits to the family chiropractor and soon after an orthopedic specialist, it was determined that Victoria had something called Vertebral Plana (VP), or flattening of the spine. With the additional symptoms of her malfunctioning left leg as well as stomach pain complaints, an MRI was ordered immediately. On January 16th, the MRI tests revealed that there was a mass/tumor on Victoria's tail bone. The next day Victoria was admitted to the hospital to get additional comprehensive tests that soon determined that Victoria’s tumor was a rare type called “Germ Cell”. Her type of germ cell tumor only happens in 1 or 2 children out of 1 million each year. Besides the large mass there were also 3 spots seen on her lungs as well as cancer tissue on her collapsed vertebrae.
Throughout 2007 Victoria had more than 6 surgeries and 8 rounds of chemotherapy. In hopes of bringing this situation to a close the tumor tissue in the pelvis was removed in May. However, June lab results revealed more cancerous tissue. The summer brought more tests and time in the hospital for procedures and surgeries including the removal of her tail bone.
During the months of September and October, she underwent additional rounds of chemo treatments trying to fight back the ever present tumor mass. The months of October, November and December required additional hospital stays due to infections. She celebrated Thanksgiving, her 5th birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s in the hospital. In March 2008, after 6 more weeks of intensive chemo treatments, the doctors concluded that chemo had failed and that the cancer continued to aggressively regenerate. Despite more surgeries, chemo, and radiation treatments throughout the spring and summer of 2008 it was determined that her final hope would be a double Stem Cell transplant.
In August and September of 2008 Victoria inaugurated the pediatric Stem Cell transplant program in Charlotte at Levine Children’s Hospital. The treatments seemed to have worked until just before her 100-day post transplant mark when a tumor was discovered on her left lung. The tumor was surgically removed. The reality ~ all treatments had failed.
Throughout 2009, Victoria had more tumors appear in her lungs, neck (thyroid gland), arm, and in May, her brain. The brain tumor was discovered on May 17th after it ruptured and bled on the brain. This resulted in a stroke. The stroke left Victoria paralyzed on the left side. Cranial radiation treatments were given to shrink the tumor. After twenty plus days of in-patient rehabilitation therapy and three months of outpatient therapy, Victoria regained the use of her left leg. However, she was unable to use her left arm and hand, she was left handed. On August 11, 2009 CT scans of Victoria’s head and lungs showed 20+ new lesions throughout both of her lungs, some of them an inch in diameter. Also, the brain tumor had doubled in size. When it was apparent that medical treatment options would no longer help, the family went on what would prove to be their final vacation together with Victoria. In the fall of 2009, one month into first grade, Victoria started experiencing excruciating headaches from the brain tumor. Her condition deteriorated until Hospice was called into the home the last week of October.
On Sunday, November 1, 2009, one month and one day short of her 7th birthday, Victoria lost her epic battle with this horrible disease. Seven months later Victoria’s parents along with her two brothers (3 ½ and 9 years old), began to try to pick up the pieces left by the devastation this loss had created. As they began to look deeply into the purpose and meaning that was so evident in the Victoria's short life, it became obvious that the entire family had a unique purpose and capacity to help & support others who were going through the same struggle, to fight for the lives of children affected by cancer and to help them and others find and achieve the highest purposes in this short life. In October 2010, the Martinsen family will kick off their foundation created to help facilitate this vision, A Purpose For Life. For updates on the family and the foundation visit this website, or www.apurposeforlife.org and check out their page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/apurposeforlife.
"A Purpose For Life" Bracelets
When Victoria went in for her first surgery January 2007, the nurses had put pink tape across her hand to cover up the IV. As Victoria’s father, Nils, looked down at this he thought of the pink bracelets worn to fight breast cancer. That evening Nils had a dream about a bracelet with the words "A PURPOSE FOR LIFE" written on it. The white represents hope and purity, while pink speaks of love, joy, and happiness. Pink also happens to be Victoria’s favorite color!
There are many children fighting for their lives daily. The Lord has
stirred up a passion in Nils’ heart to declare that God had a purpose for Victoria's life and He also has a purpose and destiny for each child that is suffering as she is. It is easy to forget in day to day activity God's assignment for each of us. We all have different journeys but we must never forget the significance of every life.
We hope the “A PURPOSE FOR LIFE” bracelets will inspire you to stand
in prayer for a child or a family that you know that is affected by cancer. We know that there is a purpose for the life of Victoria, as well as the lives of the countless other children suffering from the awful disease of cancer. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get your bracelet and show your support!