ANOTHER LOOK: Family tries
to get back to 'normal'
|Addison Vogl, 22
months, smiles Wednesday as she looks at a book with her mother,
Stacey Vogl, in their Portsmouth home. (David Hansen/Daily News
EDITOR'S NOTE: During the last week of 2004, we are
publishing a series of stories taking "Another Look" at stories from the
PORTSMOUTH - Stacey Vogl is not sure when her life will return to normal.
She said she's not even
sure what normal is anymore.
Ever since the premature birth of their daughter Addison nearly 22 months
ago, she and her husband, Michael, have been wrapped up in a topsy-turvy
world of hospital stays, doctor's visits, chemotherapy and life-saving
But as 2004 comes to a close, Addie's health appears to have stabilized and
the liver cancer that once threatened the young Portsmouth girl's life
appears to have been conquered.
"I don't think it will ever not be a part of our life, but it won't be a
focus of our life," Stacey Vogl said .
Addie, who will turn 2 on March 1, has grown to nearly 23.5 pounds. She
walks now. She's starting to talk, or is in what her mother calls the
"babbling stage." And she likes to keep her parents busy. "She's into
everything. We can't keep her still," Stacey Vogl said.
Addie weighed only 1 pound and 7 ounces when she was born three months
premature on March 1, 2003. She spent her first 89 days in the intensive
care unit at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence. Her health appeared
normal until Sept. 22, 2003, when she was brought back to the hospital
because of lack of appetite and inability to gain weight. Doctors found a
tumor around her liver and diagnosed her with a rare form of liver cancer
After five rounds of chemotherapy treatments, Addie underwent a successful
operation to remove the damaged portion of her liver in January at Johns
Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. That was followed by two subsequent rounds of
chemotherapy, and surgeries to repair a leak in her liver, straighten her
twisted stomach and repair her esophagus.
Now the focus of Addie's condition is on monitoring and therapy.
Addie undergoes monthly blood tests and MRIs every three months to test for
the presence of cancer.
And because she experienced some mild hearing loss in both ears due to the
chemotherapy treatments, she is working with a speech pathologist from the
South County Speech and Language Center to learn how to speak and use sign
language. She already knows how to sign such words as "please," "thank you,"
And her mother said she utters the word, "Mama."
"She's more into the babbling stage right now," she said.
Addie's incessant retching has almost all but ceased. But she still eats
from a feeding tube, although she is experimenting with eating solid foods.
Her parents put her at the table for dinner and Addie will put food to her
mouth, but she still refuses to ingest it.
A part-time nursing assistant also continues to help care for Addie.
The extra help, Stacey Vogl said, is much appreciated as the family tries to
get their life back on track.
Just last month, though, the family learned that Stacey's mother, Ruth Kelly
of North Kingstown, has breast cancer.
Michael Vogl is commuting to a mortgage company, Allied Home Mortgage, in
Foxboro, Mass., a job he took after being laid off from his job as an
airline pilot shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. And Stacey Vogl has returned to
her job working about three days a month on a per diem basis as a
nutritionist for the Genesis Health Care Corp.
For the time being Stacey Vogl, is not sure when, and if, she will return to
The family is expecting a new addition soon. Stacey is seven months pregnant
- four weeks further along in her pregnancy then when Addie was born - with
She said their oldest son, Taylor, now 13, is excited about having a
"He's dying for a boy," she said.
The family maintains a Web site, www.vogls.com, to keep others informed of
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