At the time of his diagnosis, Isaac was your typical two-year-old – adventurous, active and a little rebellious. He loves sandboxes, construction trucks and dinosaurs.
Suddenly, at daycare in August 2020 at 20 months old, Isaac was too tired to join in on the group’s activities, and later that night, he developed a fever.
He was monitored at home for the next couple of days. His symptoms improved, but a lump was visibly noticeable in his abdomen.
Thinking it was a hernia, Isaac was brought into the emergency at his local children’s hospital.
With irregular bloodwork and incredibly high blood pressure, the doctor had a suspicion that it was a Wilm’s tumour.
After a two-week hospital stay and several tests and scans later, Isaac was sent home for a few days before the family received the diagnosis and started his treatment plan.
Isaac’s tumor was categorized as high-risk Neuroblastoma, mycn amplified. It’s a fast-growing and aggressive form of childhood cancer that starts at the adrenal gland. Treatment had to begin immediately.
His tumour grew larger than the size of an adult’s fist and wrapped around two major arteries. It was later learned that it also spread to his left lymph node and kidney.
Isaac was already set on the most intensive treatment plan due to his age, tumour placement and type. It includes five rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, two rounds of high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplants, 12 doses of radiation and six rounds of immunotherapy. It would be a long and rocky road of at least 15 months.
The first two months were primarily spent in the hospital trying to sort out fevers and medications. But after that, Isaac rocked the remaining treatment. His time was spent between CHEO and SickKids.
Isaac’s perseverance paid off. In June 2021, scans showed no signs of active cancer cells. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean cancer-free, and its intense treatment plans leave children with life-long disabilities.
Isaac underwent a maintenance phase of his treatment plan, which was painful immunotherapy that uses the body’s defences to attack the potential of any remaining cancer cells. He went through daily injections, several oral medications a day and a minimum 5-day hospital stay every month to get IV medication.
It was a long journey, which was more manageable thanks to the extended CHEO programs funded by charity events like this one.
Here’s what’s happened since his treatment in 2021:
Isaac is now five and is no longer in treatment.
Completed treatment and rang the bell on Dec 21, 2021
He’s doing well and is currently taking daily medication for his spleen and thyroid.
He loves LEGO, Pokemon and Transformers.
I should also mention that he’s thriving in senior kindergarten and being a big brother. <3