Steven is 17 and the second of five boys in his family. He has always been a great guy with drive and ambition, honesty, and straight A’s. Most importantly, he has a great big, kind heart. Steven was 16 in the spring of 2007. He was enjoying a workout with his friends from DeSmet Jesuit High School when he noticed his hands and lower arms going numb after working out. Steven also had pain every night while he was trying to sleep and it was increasing. Amazingly, these were his only symptoms.
We spoke with our family physician who took an MRI to rule out disc problems from lifting weights. What they found was a massive growth from C1 to T2 in his spinal cord. The neurosurgeons we consulted agreed on removal of the tumor, either partially or completely. This would leave Steven paralyzed and possibly ventilated, but definitely not intact.
Steven saw many doctors over the summer and had stayed on steroids for 4 months while we were trying to find alternative diagnoses, treatments and confidence in our decisions for his health… After consulting with adult neurosurgeons and our pediatrician, we chose neurosurgeons at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to do the biopsy as to accommodate our family.
A biopsy proved the growth to be an intramedullary spinal cord ependymoma, grade II. Radiation was proposed by our Radiologist/Oncologist, and he felt confident it could stop the tumor from growing for an unspecified amount of time, but would leave him intact for the immediate.
Steven finished his last radiation treatment October 20th and is off the steroids he needed to control pain. He has numbness of his left foot and left side from the biopsy which may or may not subside. He is anxiously awaiting his stomach pain and nausea to pass.
There was an MRI performed in November 2007, following radiation, which showed the tumor to be unchanged. Steven will have many more MRI’s in the years to come as we wait to see the progression of the tumor. He is hoping to return to school soon and just feel good again. Steven has many good friends who are always here for him…Mike, Mitch, Dave, Brad, Adam, Ricky, Jacqueline, Critter, Caroline, Melissa, Alex, Tyler, Dan, Erin, Angie, Jill, G and G, D’s, the G’s and many more have helped encourage Steven through this time.
Steven and our family are honored and excited to be the Missouri Chapter of the Malia’s Cord Foundation. Whatever we can do to help others in our situation, we are pleased to do so.
See Steven’s other CORD Foundation webpage at http://www.stevenscordfoundation.com/