Kaiden has always been a picky eater. But things got progressively worse for us as he began to lose the desire to eat. This started happening in the fall of 2019 at 9 years old. His loss of appetite was accompanied by headaches, fatigue, weight loss and many visits to our pediatrician and his school nurse. After months of appointments and bloodwork showing no signs of anything unusual, our pediatrician finally diagnosed Kaiden with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). We began the process of getting any help for him that we could. He saw a nutritionist, a school therapist and a psychologist specializing in eating disorders.
Then COVID-19 hit. School closed and our regular doctor’s appointments went online. We all were dealing with the change pretty well. Kaiden still managed to take part of kung fu class, where he’s currently an orange sash, and maintained a regular schedule of classwork.
And then May 31st, 2020 happened, the day our lives changed. Kaiden was diagnosed with a rare Germ Cell tumor called Germinoma. His MRI showed 3 masses near the 3rd ventricle in the center of his brain. He stayed at the hospital for a week. During that stay, he had his shunt put in, a biopsy, a port, and another MRI.
Kaiden has completed his treatment, which consisted of 4 chemotherapy sessions 3 days a week and 4 weeks of daily radiation. We went to the clinic and hospital throughout treatment for a number of complications. There’s certainly been a fair share of hard times during covid for us as a family but there have also been blessings. During the pandemic, Kaiden hasn’t missed school because of his cancer. All the kids did. He hasn’t felt left out because everyone is going through this.
Last month, Kaiden had an after-treatment MRI and it came back clear! We are now just working with all of the after-effects that the tumor caused.
I look at Kaiden with admiration, a deep appreciation for life and a full heart. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. He’s been my rock through this. He is so easy, loves to please and make the doctors and nurses laugh, cuddle and joke. Once you meet him, you never forget him. He loves everyone and everyone loves him.
“Kaiden endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 20 rounds of radiation therapy to attack the tumor, all during 2020, under the weight of the pandemic.”
An Important Update
Kaiden was, and is a silly, quirky, smart, talkative sensitive, and caring boy before and after his diagnosis of a brain tumor called Germinoma. Kaiden endured 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 20 rounds of radiation therapy to attack the tumor, all during 2020, under the weight of the pandemic. The restrictions placed on visitations during this time made the entire process even more difficult than it would normally be.
Happily, Kaiden has been free of any sign of the disease since November of 2020. There have been unintended side effects of the treatments that saved his life (sadly this is often the case with pediatric cancer therapies), but he is facing these challenges with strength, love, and optimism.