Toddler Survives Lemon-Sized Brain Tumor

July 11, 2017
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A family’s life was turned upside down when their 1-year-old son was diagnosed with a lemon-sized tumor on his brain.

Sadly, his first operation was unsuccessful and then came the awful decision to risk everything to go ahead with another one.

About 3 months ago, the Kirby family enjoyed a happy life with a 1-year-old beautiful boy, Max. Then all of a sudden, one day Max became “a bit off and clingy and not sleeping well, he then started to lose a bit of balance, not wanted to walk as much as usual and just wanted to be picked up all day,” according to the parents’ friend, Brooke Woodley.

His parents took him to have an MRI and the result turned the family’s life upside down when Max was diagnosed to have a large brain tumor.

His parents, Lincoln and Naomi brought him from their hometown of Darwin, Australia to Melbourne by plane immediately after the test, as the large tumor could endanger their baby’s life at any time.

The boy was admitted to Monash Hospital and underwent an 8-hour brain surgery to remove the growth. He was then diagnosed as having a grade 2 ependymoma, a rare aggressive and malignant form of brain cancer.

The surgery was not fully successful, as only 30 percent of the tumor was removed. He had to be rushed to a second surgery a couple days later to drain fluid from his brain. His parents then decided to seek help from a leading brain surgeon based in Sydney, Dr. Charlie Teo.

Dr. Teo agreed to operate on the tumor, but if he could not remove 100 percent of it, Max would have only 12 months to live.

“These tumors are frequently chemoresistant and the best outcome for long-term survival will be a full surgical resection,” Woodley said.

The surgery would cost $110,000 but with financial support from family, friends, and strangers, they decided to take the risk.

The surgery lasted 10 hours and was quite successful.

The surgeons were really happy with how the operation went and feel like they have removed all of the tumor from what they could see,” read the Go Fun Me update 2 months ago. Both parents were “super happy at the moment as this is the best possible outcome with all the risks involved.

However, after Max’s follow-up MRI in  May, the results weren’t exactly what Lincoln and Naomi had hoped for but it was good enough for them—97 percent of the tumor had been removed with only a small 7mm nodule left.

Doctors then planned to start radiation therapy for the small bit of tumor remaining instead of chemotherapy and the treatment would last for 6 weeks, starting June 1, with 33 rounds of treatment in all.

Max is slowly recovering from his surgeries, he’s starting to get more confident on his feet and taking steps on his own. Swallow is improving and he enjoying small meals which he was excited about. And is trying to talk more,” Woodley wrote.

Following 3 weeks of the treatment, Max had finished 14 rounds with 19 to go. “He is tired but can manage small trips out and about. Other than sleeping a bit more he is tolerating treatment fine so far.” The Kirby family expressed their immense gratitude to all those who support and pray for their little boy:

“We just want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for praying for Max. All the positive vibes paid off and he handled it like a star.”

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