This was actually a good year for Eric. He was his witty, sarcastic self, rocking out to Primus, going to Guns N Roses concerts, and getting mostly A’s in his classes as a 7th grader. He was very healthy, only missing 5 days of school this year, and that was mostly for his every other monthly MRI testing.
During Spring Break, he went off a curb while riding his bike and hurt his tailbone. He felt twinges of pain and overnight had problems walking. As usual with such matters, the doctors started running tests - the MRI’s found three tumors (two small ones on his spine and one big one on his tailbone).
He is now off in the next week or two for Chemotherapy for four months -most likely in Memphis, Tennessee. While the Amazing Saint Jude’s is covering flights and housing while the family is there, back here in Las Vegas, their mortgage, insurance, car payments, and bills will be without a revenue stream as his dad once again has to go on FMLA, which is basically unpaid leave.
It is our hope as a community of caring people that we can at least unburden the family of their money woes, so they can concentrate their energies on getting rid of those tumors and keeping Eric healthy and happy and back to school for eighth grade.
HIS BACKSTORY: Fishing, playing video games, awaiting the next Star Wars installment, and being a straight A student all were a normal part of Eric’s life until at 8 years of age when he was diagnosed with Anaplastic Ependymoma, a high grade brain tumor, in Eric’s specific case, a walnut sized growth on the right side of his brainstem. He endured surgery almost immediately, which saved his life, but he had to spend 28 days in the hospital.
Six weeks later Eric had to have a follow-up surgery to clean-up any extra tendrils of tumor that surgery did not get completely get removed, a standard procedure. During his recovery time it took almost two years to relearn all basic functions: swallowing, walking, getting dressed and all other things most of us take for granted. He did have to endure Chemo for four months, in Las Vegas, but this was rough on his body and it nearly shut down and he suffered from “Chemo brain” – where you have no short-term memory and are easily disturbed by non-quiet atmospheres. He took chemo pills for his entire fourth grade year.
He was free of issues for an entire year but just two weeks into sixth grade the MRI showed that the tumor had grown back. He went for an eight-hour surgery in Los Angeles, upon completing it, the surgeon was bouncing like Tigger the tiger, it was a success! Eric healed in three days, but recovery took six weeks. Then it was 33 days of radiation in Los Angeles, where the family had to quickly find a temporary home for their dogs Cuddles and Tucker, and dad went on FMLA. He recovered and finished off sixth grade with A’s & B’s.
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