On 12/10/20, our lives changed forever. Our 12, now 13 year old son Daniel had been getting headaches and feeling sick for about 2 weeks but then he said that he was starting to have double vision. We then took him into the ER and they did blood tests and gave him a CT scan of his head. The images showed that Daniel has a golf size tumor in the center of his brain. It’s called a Pineal Germ Cell Tumor. He was then flown from the ER in Reno to Oakland’s Children’s Hospital for emergency brain surgery, to relieve brain fluid that was building in his head that wasn’t able to drain because of the tumor. It was a successful surgery and Daniel was able to leave the PICU in Oakland 6 days later. He was sent home to recover, with a plan to meet the Oncology doctors in Reno.
He started his first round of chemotherapy at the begging of January, second round at the begging of February and was about to start his 3rd round in late February, when we got horrible news. A recent MRI scan showed that the tumor had gotten bigger and that the the chemotherapy didn’t work. We were then told the only way to remove the tumor is by surgery. So we packed up and left for Oakland’s Children’s Hospital to meet with their Neurosurgery team on a Monday and by Tuesday morning, Daniel was in surgery. We were told that he may need 2 or 3 different operations, due to how slow the process is for removal. His first surgery lasted 14 hours and they are saying the next surgery will be just as long. Once they complete his surgery and he does some rehab, Daniel still has 4 more rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation possibly more.
Daniel just turned 13 years old about a few weeks ago and got to see most of his direct family members. When we told him what the doctors said at the ER, he said that he is going to pull through this and that he is going to kick its butt. However, since his diagnosis, he has been doing home school and really hasn’t been going places, due to his immunity being compromised. He is really looking forward to playing basketball on his new hoop that he got for Christmas with his friends and his 6 year old little sister. Lately, he has really been into anime cartoons, especially Naruto.
Daniel is very thankful for all his friends and family that have been and will be by his side. A few days ago, he started losing his hair, so he had us shave his hair into a Mohawk. He is the most grateful person I have ever met. The night he was told about the tumor and they were going to fly him to Oakland, he stopped all of his nurses and EMT’s and said that he really appreciate what they do and thank you for taking care of him. Even when confronted with the horrible news, this young man stood tall and humble at the same time.