Always Smiling

Always Smiling

Name: Dontrell
Type of Cancer: Anaplastic Ependymoma
Diagnosed: Age 4, 2020
By: Charmaine, Dontrell's Mom
— Categories: Brain   Pediatric  


Delayed Diagnosis Leading to a Second Opinion

Around the middle of April, we noticed Dontrell would run into walls, fall off his potty and fall over in the tub. We knew something was wrong, so we spoke with a pediatrician and she said he was having behavior problems. When Dontrell only wanted to sleep, stopped walking and would only crawl, we got a second opinion from another doctor. This doctor took her time and did thorough tests to see what was wrong. Since his symptoms were getting worse, she sent us to the ER to get an MRI and that is when they found the tumor in his brain. Dontrell was diagnosed with a grade 3 anaplastic ependymoma on the top left side of his brain. They told us the tumor was the size of a baseball. He was diagnosed at the very tender age of four years old.

Difficult Journey Through Multiple Surgeries  

We had an emergency surgery to get most of the tumor out. After the surgery was done, the MRI was reviewed and they saw residual tumor remaining on his brain. He then had a second surgery a month later. After his second surgery a drain was placed in his head to drain the excess fluids on his brain. When the drain was removed, he got MSSA ventriculitis, which is a form of meningitis. He was on antibiotics for two months. We were preparing to be discharged from the hospital and Dontrell got another MRI before we were able to leave. That MRI showed more residual tumor on his brain. He was then scheduled for his third brain surgery to get all of the tumor out. His third surgery was a success! The neurosurgeon was able to get 100% of the remaining tumor out. He’s had 33 rounds of photon radiation and got to ring the bell on 9/18/2020. We were thankful to have received care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Our Plea to Others

It is imperative to find a cure for kids battling brain cancer. There’s only 4% of funding that is given to pediatric cancer research and that is just not enough! Some brain cancers don’t have a cure and you’re handed a time of life expectancy. These kids are true warriors and are just starting their life. They deserve longevity and to live a full life. My son has showed me strength! He has been a true fighter. Surgery after surgery and extended hospital stays; no matter what’s been going on he’s always had a smile on his face.



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