"Cole is the most amazing 6th grade, 11-year-old boy you’ll ever meet. He’s incredibly knowledgeable about dinosaurs, animals, botany, science, and nature. He especially loves animals and when he grows up he wants to build and open a zoo with his best friend, Jake Felton. They’ve already planned out the enclosures, individual species to be included, plants, and conservation protocols – yes, that’s my kid. Cole has been part of the Scouting program since he was a Tiger and bridged over to Boy Scouts last year. One week prior to his diagnosis, he joined a water polo team with CHAWP in Corona, CA so we hope he will pick it up again once treatment is over. Cole loves nature and being outdoors so we go camping and hiking/exploring as often as we can as a family and with the Scouts."
It all started about a year ago. Cole would experience intermittent vomiting for no reason that we could discover. We took him to the doctor who said he was backed up (constipated). We then saw a GI specialist who said the same thing. We took him to the doctors numerous times trying to find the root cause of his vomiting and they kept saying it was due to his GI tract. About a week before diagnosis, Cole had been getting debilitating headaches so we went to Urgent Care and they told us it was probably a dehydration headache but couldn’t run a CT scan as they did not have one available to them. Our family walked out of the building, paused, and began putting the puzzle pieces together; little bits of information that at the time, didn't cause us concern, but put together, scared the heck out of us. He had been having issues with his vision – he couldn't get his eyes to focus correctly (Prior to this Cole had 20/20 vision). He had been falling a lot (We thought he was just being clumsy and not paying attention). He was getting more and more uncoordinated (He’s an 11-year-old boy, so what can I say? They're uncoordinated). He lost weight that he couldn’t afford to lose. (He’s always been slim but at his doctor’s suggestion, we cut way down on starchy carbs because of his so called, “intestinal issues”. The change in his weight was due to his new diet but could also have been due to the cancer as well). The night before we took him in I noticed that his right eye was pulling to the side slightly. That was brand new. Still putting the pieces together, my husband and I turned to Cole and said, "walk a straight line" but he couldn't do it. He tripped over his feet and had almost no balance. Eric and I looked at each other and walked straight to the ER. Initially, the doctor did not want to give him a CT Scan but we insisted. Five hours after our arrival, the doctor found a mass which was pressing against Cole’s cerebellum. They sent us by ambulance to CHOC and Cole was in brain surgery 18 hours after diagnosis. They were able to do a gross, total resection of the tennis ball sized tumor.
Cole has Medulloblastoma WNT. Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children and accounts for about 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors. Between 250 and 500 children are diagnosed with this each year in the United States. Treating Medulloblastoma requires radiation and chemo therapies. We are currently in Memphis, TN in our 5th week of radiation. We will be returning to California in two weeks where we will get a 5 week break before returning to Memphis to begin 4 rounds of Chemo.
Cole has a Facebook page called “Family Together Strong”