Ashton + Medulloblastoma
It was supposed to be a fun year! Being 5, you're a big kid, now starting Kindergarten and you get to have the time of your life. Until life, so suddenly takes those fun, innocent things away. That's what's so unfair about cancer. It doesn't care where you are in life or what age you are, it just happens with no warning.
Shortly after starting school, Ashton was progressively experiencing nausea, vomiting, a gait in his walk and headaches. After continually getting calls from the school nurse about Ashton getting sick, they decided to take things a little more serious. Multiple pediatric visits and no answers until they noticed his eye started turning slightly inwards. A second opinion from a different pediatrician was what confirmed their worries about his health. CT scans confirmed that he had multiple brain tumors. On November 16, 2017 due to hydrosyphilious, a 4 hr MRI revealed 4 tumors as well as a possible one in the spine. He had an egg sized tumor blocking spinal fluid from coming and going from the brain.
He underwent a 6 hr surgery brain surgery and it was discovered that he had a different tumor than expected. He had Medulloblastoma. 250-500 children are diagnosed with Medulloblastoma a year. He was diagnosed with stage 4 High Risk Brain Cancer, Medulloblastoma Category 3. This type of cancer is broken up into 4 categories. Category 1 and 2 have great response and 80% survival rate. Category 3 has 35-55% survival rate and category 4has 45-65% survival rate. After surgery, they were devastated to find out Ashton was diagnosed with Posterior Fossa Syndrome, which they were never warned would happen. It happens to 23% of children after the Medulloblastoma tumor is cut into. Doctors have little research as to why this happens. He was completely different. Thrashing, crying and screaming nonstop. It leaves kids mute, paralyzed and unable to swallow but can think completely normal, essentially trapped in their own bodies. All of this is temporary brain damage lasting anywhere from 4 week-2 years with a possible full recovery.
Ashton receives Speech, Therapy, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. He's improving day by day but no where near the old Ashton. A few weeks after his brain surgery, the neurosurgeons believed that his cranial spinal fluid was not better and Ashton would need a Shunt to control the spinal fluid(hydrosyphilious). Another surgery to endure and heal from before chemo. Ashton's treatment will include 6 cycles of high dose Chemotherapy to complete, cycle's 4-6 will require stem cell transplants. Everything will get harder for him.
70+ days in the hospital with so much uncertainty and days where you question if you can keep going, but you just do it. As a mother, you just want to make your child feel safe and comforted and feel all the love, even on days they might feel so much pain. That's exactly what Ashtons mama is doing. Conquering each day as each new battle comes her way. Advocating for her son and being his voice. Feeling the emotions when needed but not letting Ashton see too much because it upsets him too much. She starts each new day, ready for its challenges and knows she can get through them with all the love and support she has from her husband, family & friends, neighbors & complete strangers.
Love and kindness still exist in the world and sometimes it takes something life changing for you to see it.Ashton and his family are so thankful to everyone that has contributed in any way and follow his story.
#ashsmash #ashstrong #helpashsmashbraincancer