When Jacob turned two he was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumor. He underwent two major brain surgeries and six rounds of chemo. Our family was in and out of the hospital for most of 2020 receiving care for him at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Due to the location of the tumor (wrapped around his spinal cord) there were a lot of nerve endings affected by the removal of the mass. This included nerves that pertained to / controlled speech, mobility, fine motor skills, and movement. After Jacob’s first major surgery, he had to regain his speech, relearn how to walk / crawl, and regain fine motor skills. Unfortunately, after three rounds of chemotherapy doctors determined that a second surgery would be needed to extract more of the tumor before he proceeded to high dose chemotherapy (rounds 4-6). This was an incredibly difficult time for our family as well as Jacob. The procedures and the overall process of this journey caused a lot of stress on him both physically and emotionally.
We are thankful today that there are no signs of tumor in Jacob’s brain. Jacob is now 5 years old. He does have to continue with MRI scans every 9 months to ensure there is no sign of regrowth. His last scan was in December and we are thankful that the scan was clear.
Due to the surgeries and intense medication he received Jacob does have a slight delay in his development including his speech, fine motor skills, physical skills (balance / jumping), and social / behavioral skills, and processing information. Jacob has come a long way since his diagnosis and treatment. Occupational and speech therapies have been incredibly impactful for his growth, development and improvement.
Jacob is now 5 and thriving. He started preschool in August 2022. He enjoys sports like soccer and t-ball. He has a love for trains, cars, and books. He is a true warrior and cancer survivor. We are honored to share his story.
Medulloblastoma Brain Tumor
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Medulloblastomas by definition occur in the cerebellum, which is the part of brain located at the base of the skull, just above the brainstem. The cerebellum is involved in many functions including coordination of voluntary movements (e.g., walking, fine motor skills) and regulating balance and posture. Medulloblastomas arise from primitive, undeveloped cells in the brain. Most medulloblastomas occur in infants and children. Less commonly, these tumors can develop in adults as well. Symptoms associated with a medulloblastoma include headaches in the morning that improve as the day goes on, recurrent vomiting and difficulty walking and with balance. Medulloblastomas can spread to other areas of the central nervous system. The exact cause of a medulloblastoma is unknown.