At Nationwide Children's Hospital, we realize that emotional support is every bit as important as medical treatment. That’s why we want you to meet some of our patients, who, like you, are dealing with the daily challenges of a blood or cancer condition.
It was a warm May afternoon when the Brooks family was driving home from a visit to grandma’s house. Megan peered in the back seat to check on her daughter, 7 month-old Harper and son, three and half year-old Sully. Beneath the mop of blond hair, the little boy’s face was pale, and his big blue eyes, usually snapping with mischief were dull. Sensing something was wrong, Megan and her husband Zach drove straight to the doctor’s office.[read more...]
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Lauren was rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital by ambulance. There, physicians discovered that Lauren had so many leukemia cells in her blood that she was at risk of kidney and lung failure if she did not receive treatment quickly. In order to receive this treatment safely, she had to be put on a ventilator and placed in a medically induced coma for several days. While she was in this coma, machines removed some of the leukemia cells and kidney-harming chemicals released by the leukemia cells from her blood. Once these treatments were complete, and while still on the ventilator, chemotherapy was started. The “brain tumor” turned out to be multiple small patches of blood that had settled on her brain, causing facial symptoms that looked very similar to a stroke.
“They said ninety percent of her white blood cells were leukemia cells, that she was very sick and might not make it,” says mother Mariah. “It was such a helpless feeling, but we were immediately supported by a team of doctors, nurses, clergy, social workers, therapists – everyone was totally focused on helping Lauren and helping us. Without a doubt, the doctors at Nationwide Children’s saved Lauren’s life that day.”
Persistent cold and flu symptoms had Faith and her parents making frequent trips to the doctor. After three weeks of various diagnosis and multiple medications, her parents brought her to the hospital where she ended up spending a week undergoing multiple tests, however the tests came back inconclusive. Faith went home and was feeling better for a couple weeks, but then started falling down and bruising very easily and complaining of headaches.[read more...]
One day she collapsed at her babysitter’s home and was rushed back to the hospital where an MRI revealed a golf ball sized tumor on her Cerebellum. Doctors had a difficult time finding the words to share this tragic news with Faith’s family. Faith started having seizures and was immediately moved to the intensive care unit. Faith underwent surgery to remove the entire tumor and was moved to the Neurology floor where she spent two weeks recovering. Strength and courage were key in getting Faith through another two weeks on the Rehabilitation floor undergoing extensive therapy. She made it home and the following week started chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation five days a week. Faith finished radiation and had a six week break. Then once a month she was admitted to Nationwide Children’s for intense chemotherapy to fight the cancer. Faith is thrilled to be completing her treatment and having more time to just to be a kid and play with her friends and family.[hide]
Brady’s life changed forever when an emergency room visit turned into a battle against cancer. What started as a growth under his tongue turned into a same day biopsy resulting in a diagnosis of Synovial Sarcoma. A synovial sarcoma is a rare form of cancer which usually occurs near to the joints of the arm, neck or leg.[read more...]
Brady was by far the youngest and only the 14th reported case ever on the tongue. Ten days later Brady underwent a 10-hour surgery when the medical team at Nationwide Children’s had to remove the front two-thirds of his tongue and then "rebuild" it using a tissue graft from his left forearm. At the time of surgery it was hard to determine how extensive his recovery would be, specifically with speech and tongue movement required for eating. Brady beat the odds and made a remarkable recovery. He was talking by two weeks after the surgery. Now it is difficult to tell that he even has a "new tongue." Since surgery he has underwent six rounds of chemotherapy under the care of Dr. Cripe, Dr. Woods and the entire Hematology/Oncology team. Brady is a happy boy who has follow-up visits.[hide]
As a baby Antionette and her family were faced with the realization that she had Sickle Cell Disease. Sickle Cell Disease is when blood cells are shaped like a ‘sickle’ causing a lot of daily pain. She has endured countless trips to Nationwide Children’s and has been admitted to the hospital ten times, most recently for almost a month sick with pneumonia.[read more...]
A bone marrow transplant typically is a cure for Sickle Cell Disease patients, but you need full siblings for a perfect match. That is not an option for Antionette at this time as she does not have full siblings. Antionette is a young girl who will continue to need daily medication to treat the disease. But she still finds time to do her favorite things draw, make jewelry, play basketball and roller skate![hide]
Playing hard and aches and pains are normal for young boys. However, Ian had a backache that wouldn’t go away. When a family trip to the circus turned bad when Ian could barely sit in the seat and on the ride home was in tears, his family knew something was not right. His mom took him to his family doctor in Lancaster who thought the pain in his lower back without other symptoms was strange.[read more...]
So to rule out possible diagnoses his family doctor sent Ian to Fairfield Medical Center for an X-ray and blood draw. The tests showed Ian's platelets were low and it was recommended they go to Nationwide Children’s right away. By late that night Ian and his parents learned that Ian had leukemia. Ian was immediately admitted to Nationwide Children’s and had surgery and began chemotherapy the very next day. Nationwide Children’s became home for Ian for the next month and a half, undergoing chemotherapy, a lumbar puncture, bone marrow biopsy. Dr. Terry Guinipero and the medical team shared with Ian the AML diagnosis and explained it’s very aggressive, and the prognosis was not as good as for ALL. After hearing the news and the treatment plans, Ian being the fighter that he is said, "I hope it's AML, because then we can just get it over faster, even if it's harder." The weeks ahead were grueling with four rounds of chemotherapy and four to six week stays in the hospital with each round, only leaving the hospital for a few days between each. The beginning of the third round proved exceptionally hard on Ian’s young body as his heart reacted badly to the strong chemo, his blood pressure dropped repeatedly, and he wound up in the ICU for almost a week. That same round, an infection landed Ian back in the ICU with sepsis. The fourth round went a little more smoothly and after countless blood transfusions, antibiotics, fevers, medications, Ian was able to go home. After more blood tests, a biopsy, EKG, Echocardiogram, and his central line removed, Ian was declared cancer free! Ian now tries to rediscover the life of a young boy, and recalls how he felt in the midst of treatment, "I wish we didn't have to be here, but if we do, this is a really great place and everybody is so nice."[hide]
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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month