On February 18, 2019 Conner was diagnosed with Group 4 Metastaic Medulloblastoma, a malignant tumor in his brain and spinal chord. The next day he underwent a 10-hour surgery to remove the tumor. The weeks prior to the diagnoses were filled with increased nausea, headaches, and malaise. On February 7, our first appointment with neurology, the thought was that he had stomach migraines which creates the same symptoms. We started a medicine for the migraines but it didn't end up helping. Our neurologist scheduled an MRI but Conner couldn't get in right away. February 16th he threw up blood during a nauseous episode. Unsure what to do on the weekend, we called to our neurologist. The on-call neurologist said to watch it and to stop the Ibruprofen we were giving in case that was irritating his stomach. Monday, we couldn't take seeing him like that anymore. Something else had to be going on. We took him to our local hospital. Instead of the CT scan we opted for an MRI in Wausau. We then drove there and after an MRI were told it was a 3 cm cancerous tumor. Devastating.
Conner was taken by ambulance to UW Health in Madison, an AMAZING hospital, with surgery to follow the next day. We're so lucky to have had the best surgeon who works on cases like his every day! He removed the brain tumor but, unfortunately, a full head/spinal chord MRI showed that the malignant tumor had spread down his spinal chord. Conner remained in the PICU for 4 weeks due to possible Posterior Fossa Syndrome. He was in an altered state where he screamed language we didn't even know he knew. He was aggressive and very hard to reason with. Generally, he was in an altered state of mind. He wasn't Conner at that moment. To help eliminate the metastases and residual brain tumor Conner was transferred to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to receive Proton Beam radiation. 7 days after being transferred he sort of woke up. Slowly he returned to being his sweet self. He had no recollection of those 4 1/2 week in Madison which turned out to be a blessing. We on the other hand will never forget.
Conner underwent 30 chemotherapy and radiation treatments while inpatient at Mayo Clinic. Every weekday the ambulance would come and transfer us to the Jacobson Building for Proton Beam Therapy. We as a family have suffered dearly being apart. Conner's 10-year-old sister, Riley said, "her life was ruined" when we found out he had cancer. As a tight family who love life's simple pleasure (playing board games, watching movies, walks in the woods) our lives were tore apart.
Once Conner completed his 7 weeks of chemo and radiation he was released and went home. After a 6-week recovery period he started 6 months worth of maintenance chemotherapy.
As we've already discovered, the long cancer journey will have unpredictable ups and downs. Please don't feel obligated to donate--well-wishes, thoughts, and prayers are plenty. But if you are interested, the donation would help with medical expenses, travel costs, meals, and supplement household income since returning to work has proven difficult with Conner feeling sick often--not going to school--and his general, everyday care/appointments.
We're holding strong, alternating caring for Conner and spending time with our daughter--taking it day-by-day.
We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.
Since it's proven hard to update two sites, if you'd like to read more up-to-date progress, please visit https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/connerstrong