March 2, 2024

Health Mettler Institute

Healthy LifeStyle & Education

How proton therapy helped my son with a childhood brain tumor

How proton therapy helped my son with a childhood brain tumor

My son Benjamin was born weighing only 3 pounds. He stayed in the NICU for 7 months. It was challenging and financially draining. We had a kindergartener and toddler at residence, although also viewing Benjamin at the hospital each individual working day. 

When Benjamin was capable to come household, he experienced a full parenteral nourishment (TPN) central line, an ostomy bag and a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) to get nourishment.  

By the time he was 1, he was in a position to try to eat and have the ostomy bag and G-tube taken out. Life was starting to sense usual.  

At 2 decades outdated, he jumped into a foam pit at a birthday occasion and arrived out keeping his head to the aspect. When I asked if he felt damage, he stated no. I waited a couple of times considering he had pulled a muscle in his neck. But the head tilt remained.  

When I took him to his pediatrician, they sent us to bodily therapy. Soon after two months, practically nothing had improved. We observed a neurologist who reported he seemed delighted and healthier with no other indicators other than a head tilt. The neurologist ordered an MRI to be protected, but I remember her telling me that she did not feel they would find everything.  

Right before we remaining the medical center parking whole lot, I gained a call saying the MRI final results were being in.  

A childhood mind tumor diagnosis 

That is when Benjamin was diagnosed with a sort of brain tumor named a Grade 1 pilocytic astrocytoma. His oncologist at our regional clinic advisable he start chemotherapy but prompt ready on radiation remedy to give his physique and mind time to develop so they could obtain the tumor greater. 

A number of months later on, tests showed the tumor had developed. His care workforce resolved to work. Benjamin experienced just turned 3 years outdated when he underwent brain surgical procedure. He then experienced two weeks of inpatient rehabilitation. This was tough on our spouse and children due to the fact we had two small ladies at home. 

Just after 6 decades of striving various forms of chemotherapy, together with two scientific trials, we have been ready to test radiation treatment. I understood the tumor was still escalating and Benjamin was obtaining signs or symptoms such as sleepiness and amplified face paralysis. So, we made a decision to just take a leap of religion, belief God and go to MD Anderson to have his tumor treated with proton beam treatment.  

Proton therapy is an sophisticated type of radiation cure that utilizes a beam of protons to produce radiation instantly to the tumor, destroying most cancers cells though sparing nutritious tissues.  As a final result, it minimizes facet consequences to protect against extended-phrase difficulties. Since of the bodily attributes of proton beams, it is ideal for pediatric most cancers patients with tumors found close to expanding tissues, particularly in the brain, backbone, eyes, ears or mouth. 

Perseverance via proton treatment treatment

In Sept. 2022, when Benjamin was 10 a long time previous, he began proton treatment at MD Anderson below the treatment of Dr. David Grosshans. He had a great practical experience at MD Anderson Proton Remedy Middle. Benjamin advised me it was the most straightforward cure he has been by way of. He bonded with his treatment team and loved using naps in the course of procedure. On Nov. 4, he celebrated his past cure by ringing the gong. 

All through remedies, he did not have side results. But following he concluded proton treatment, he experienced some numbness on the remaining facet of his entire body and weak point in his leg. He carries on to go to actual physical treatment and that assists boost his energy. 

Benjamin is performing effectively, and the tumor is stable. He is doing work tough to get caught up at faculty. Missing college for therapy influenced his studying the most. 

My suggestions to other moms and dads is to carry a reserve and a snack to remedy. Preserve a watchful eye on the affected individual and most of all, bear in mind to acquire it a person day at a time. 

Request an appointment at MD Anderson on the internet or by calling 1-877-632-6789.