SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) – At first a Kirkland couple thought their newborn baby’s bloated belly was gas, but it turned out to be a tumor that grew from the size of an orange to a cantaloupe in just a few days, reports KOMO-TV.
“Then it got worse and it got worse. Now we’re dealing with I’m gonna have a child that’s fed through tubes, has drains coming out of her body, who won’t eat, and will be in the hospital for a very long time,” said the baby’s mother, Keenan Sanders.
Seven-week old Leighton has already undergone six surgeries and is expected to have two more. Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital removed the newborn’s tumor, intestines, bowels, gall bladder, part of her pancreas, colon, and stomach.
Sanders said her daughter weighed 8 1/2 pounds before the tumor was removed and 5 1/2 pounds after the surgery.
The road to full recovery will be long: Leighton has to get better before they can even begin to consider reconstructive surgery or organ transplants. It’s almost too much for her mother to bear.
“When I start to take everything in at once, I can’t handle it. I can’t listen to it. It becomes too much when I hear every single obstacle that she faces and will face. It’s overwhelming,” Sanders said.
The couple has been staying by their baby’s side in the ICU. is holding vigil by their baby’s side in ICU.
Leighton’s dad is trying to stay optimistic. “You never want to see anything like that with your daughter, your baby girl. There’s a long battle to go, it’s tough, it’s tough,” said Dave Sanders.
The couple is taking solace in the support they’ve received from family and friends. One friend took initiative and set up a GoFundMe page for Leighton. It’s raised more than $20,000 to help them with household expenses.
“The outpouring of support for our daughter has been unimaginable,” Sanders said.
The family expects to receive test results this week to let them know if Leighton has cancer.
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