2 Years Old at Diagnosis
In May 2011 my son Chase, then 2-years-old, was throwing up about every other day. Besides this he was a normal busy 2 year old. He had been throwing up here and there for months and his doctor thought it was due to allergies and put him on a new medicine that seemed to be helping for awhile. Then around the same time his vomiting increased he would have little episodes where he would start crying hysterically and say he was falling when he clearly wasn’t. This sparked an MRI on May 20th, which we thought may just reveal an inner ear problem. It wasn’t. While sitting in the waiting room I looked up and saw Chase’s pediatrician and thought, “why is he here?” He sat down and said, “they called me because they found a brain tumor.” That was day 1 of our nightmare.
We were told to take him to Riley hospital immediately and a neurosurgeon would be waiting there for us. When arriving at Riley we met with Dr. Boaz who then told me after reviewing the MRI he not only had one tumor but several other small ones. They scheduled him to have the main tumor removed on the following Monday, and an MRI of his spine the next day because cancer of the nervous system usually only attack the brain and spine. That led to more bad news – the cancer was in his spine also. They found 2 small tumors on his spine. On May 23rd they removed the large tumor from his brain with success and sent off the tumor to be analyzed and come up with a diagnosis. He was in the ICU for 3 days then went to a normal hospital room for 9 days. His official diagnoses is medulloblastoma grade 4. They then scheduled him for 6 rounds of chemo. Four of these were high dose chemo and required about a month long hospital stay each cycle. After the 5th cycle they did an MRI on his brain and spine to see his progress. This revealed one small spot still remaining on his brain and one on his spine. The doctors were not sure if they were cancerous or not but knew they need to be removed regardless. On October 20th he went back into surgery. He ended up being on the operating table for almost 12 hours. And amazingly enough he wanted to get up and play the next day. The final chemo cycle was very high dose chemo which completely wiped out his immune system and required him to have a stem cell transplant. That took place in November 2011.
Chase then started Proton Beam radiation therapy in Bloomington, IN on Thursday February 23rd 2012. This is another step that is very scary. They do not like to do head and spine radiation on young children due to the horrific side effects. But lucky for us Chase turned 3 during his chemo treatments, allowing him to have radiation. He finished 30 treatments on April 5th 2012. His first post treatment MRI was on May 7th 2012. Thankfully it revealed only slight contrast to one of the tumors on his spine. The doctors and radiologist all agreed that it looked like scar tissue and not cancer.
Cancer has literally torn apart our lives and unfortunately I have learned through so many other children in Chase’s shoes even when they declare him “cancer free” problems still continue and relapse will be a constant worry.
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