Before we get started, if you haven’t read about Carter’s story, do so by clicking here. This will help you get a better understanding on who he is and what challenges he has been through.
Now on to today’s discussion, and having a conversation about Pediatric Brain Tumors and the effect it had on Carter overall. No need to state the obvious here, I know you guys are thinking about how crazy this title is, a brain tumor is a brain tumor and it will undoubtedly have drastic effects on every person. However, I think it is important to understand how it affected Carter individually, as it is important to us to let others know that it isn’t a sentence of no return. Life can continue, future adventures will occur, and although there will still be anxiety and scary times, this will not be the case 24/7.
What is a brain tumor?
Here is some information straight from the Boston’s Children Hospital
Brain tumors are relatively rare in children, occurring in only five of every 100,000 children. Although childhood brain tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), both types can be life-threatening. Nevertheless, children with brain tumors generally have a better prognosis than adults with a similar condition.
About 2,200 children and adolescents in the United States are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year. Most children and adolescents who develop brain tumors survive into adulthood. However, many will face physical, psychological, social and intellectual challenges related to their treatment.
Brain tumors are commonly treated with surgery and/or other therapies including chemotherapy and radiation. However, as scientists continue to learn more about the specific genetic mutations that occur in childhood brain tumors, they are starting to develop targeted treatments (precision medicine) that can be used in brain tumor treatment.
* weakness of the face, trunk, arms, or legs.
* slurred speech.
* difficulty standing or walking.
* poor coordination.
* in babies and young toddlers, a rapidly enlarging head
With these symptoms, you may not always see all of them at once, or in our case at all. You see, when you are present with your child every single day with a military life, you tend not to see slowly developing changes. We didn’t have family close by to take the children for a week, or use drop off services on a daily bases, so we see them every day. However, when Kelli’s parents came down to visit they knew right away something was wrong, and talked Kelli in taking him to the ER the very next morning, where they found the brain tumor
How it Affects Carter
Well, quite frankly, there isn’t much that has drastically changed his life. He does have the tube running down the side of his neck for the VP Shunt that helps drain the fluid from his brain. It is visible, but as he grows it becomes less noticeable. He hates nurses, no matter what he despises them. Have no fear, we still love y ‘all, but you guys lost with Carter. It only took one nurse to put an IV in him during his first visit, and now he hates them. If you read our post about nurses here, you will get a better understanding.
Everything else is pretty good. We go back once a year for a check up, an MRI and consult with the surgeon, but everything has been great so far. No regrowth, no scares, and we thank God every day for such. We will always have a little anxiety when it comes time to go to UNC, but we get through it. We actually are going on July 5th for his follow up next week, so the anxiety already has begun.
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