We are privileged and excited to announce that we are helping another family in their fight against Brain Cancer
Jake (The Jakester as he's known!) is the sweetest 6-year-old boy whose childhood was turned on its head in September 2017 by brain cancer.
Concerned with a few random symptoms, Jake’s parents, Nicole and Paul, took Jake to their family Doctor for a check-up and within minutes of walking in the door were given a bleak report. An emergency MRI showed a 3.5cm mass deeply intertwined in his brain stem and the prognosis was grim!
After a 7-hour surgery at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, only 70% of the tumour was able to be removed with the rest in too precarious a position. The tumour was diagnosed as a “Grade 1 Pilocytic Astrocytoma” (JPA) which, though labelled benign, is a form of rare cancer that is non-aggressive, slow growing and contained to its location. The surgery left Jake with double vision, which he continues to wear an eye patch for as well as left-side deficits which were mostly rehabilitated over the following months.
After follow-up MRI’s, it became clear that the tumour was still growing and that further treatment was required. Chemotherapy was recommended, as further surgery was labelled “too risky” and so Jake had a port-a-cath installed in his chest to administer the chemo. In January of this year, Jake had a second surgery, a ventriculostomy, to relieve pressure on the brain caused by the growing tumour as well as 3 tumour cysts that had formed.
In late February, Paul & Nicole, reluctant to begin Jake on a chemotherapy regimen, sought the advice and opinion of Dr Charlie Teo in Sydney who advised that he would be willing to remove the brain stem tumour. Even though the risks were high, Jake’s parents believed this to be his best chance of life and a future, as it offered a complete cure. Dr Teo was able to remove most of the tumour, but Jake was left with hemianopia (left hemisphere blind spot vision) and severe deficits and lack of sensation on his left side. MRI’s indicated a small amount of residual tumour that has so far, shown to be ‘stable’ on subsequent scans.
Jake’s family are eternally grateful to Cure My Brain, who are putting Jake through an intensive physiotherapy programme, whereby he is learning to walk again and to improve his left side deficits. He is still unable to use his left hand but is making steady progress. He has a wonderful and positive attitude towards everything that he’s been through as well as what lies ahead. His innocent, accepting and resilient approach has taught his parents to be brave. They have scaled back their businesses to become full time carers for Jake and live in the hope that the damage caused is not permanent. Only time and the road to recovery will tell.