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Caden’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated on Caden. Please note: CaringBridge has a link for donations. All donations made here go to CaringBridge to support their website. Donations do not support Caden's cancer treatment. If you want to show your support for Caden directly, please go to www.team-fc.com or the Caden Shrauger Benefit Fund at Big Sky Western Bank.

Caden Shrauger - a happy, smart, kind, and loving little boy growing up in Bozeman, Montana. From birth, he could be found spending his summers camping at the lake, often entertaining his older half-siblings and all others he encountered with his silly antics. Winters were spent exploring Montana’s snowy landscape and learning to ski. At age 3, he started pre-school and was especially proud of becoming a big brother in October 2011.

In March 2012, three months shy of his 4th birthday, Caden began complaining of occasional leg pain. Then, he developed a low-grade fever and began complaining of neck and hip pain. The fever and pain persisted and Caden became very lethargic. Blood work showed very high indicators of inflammation and anemia. X-rays, ultrasounds, and a bone scan all appeared normal. Nothing was lining up to provide a clear diagnosis and his fever and pain continued. An MRI then showed abnormalities in the bone marrow of his hips, legs, and spine. His right adrenal gland was also slightly enlarged.

On March 30, 2012, Caden was flown 700 miles from home to Seattle Children's Hospital. The initial fear was leukemia, but a bone marrow test pointed toward another type of cancer – Neuroblastoma.

On April 3, Caden was diagnosed with Stage 4, High Risk Neuroblastoma, a solid tumor cancer of immature cells within the sympathetic nervous system; it is difficult to treat. Caden began an aggressive course of treatment on April 7, 2012. Six rounds of high dose chemotherapy were administered over 5 months. On July 30, the primary tumor site and adrenal gland were removed. Slowly, between the associated side effects of vomiting, exhaustion, mouth and throat sores, blood infections, NG feeding tubes, and viruses, Caden’s strength and cheerful, funny nature returned. He began to walk, even run, and play with his sister again.

Scans in late August 2012 revealed that although the cancer was not worse and had been reduced some, it did not respond as well as hoped, nor enough to proceed with the anticipated autologous bone marrow transplant. Caden then completed a seventh round of chemotherapy and traveled to San Francisco for specialized intravenous radiation therapy (I-131 MIBG therapy). This treatment significantly reduced the amount of cancer present, and Caden moved forward into transplant and traditional radiation therapy in early 2013.

In March 2013, he began six months of immunotherapy, including five rounds of difficult inpatient antibody infusions and six rounds of therapy trying to turn the cancer cells (immature nerve cells) into benign, matured nerve cells. Finally on September 11, 2013, after 17 months of treatment, scans showed that Caden had "no evidence of disease". He and his family lived in an RV in the hospital’s parking lot for over a year and returned home to Montana.

Less than two months later in November 2013, a small amount of neuroblastoma was found in his marrow, and he was then considered "relapsed". His blood was collected for a trial in Texas using his T-cells; the cells are engineered in a lab to fight neuroblastoma. During the time while the cells were engineered and FDA requirements of the trial were worked out, he did six rounds of the medication that can mature the neuroblastoma cells into benign ones from home. During that treatment, he had two sets of "no evidence if disease" scans but the final one again showed a few neuroblastoma cells. When preparing to go to Texas for chemo and his T-cell infusion, his scans showed "no evidence of disease" and he became ineligible for that trial but eligible for another trial available through Primary Children's in Salt Lake City. In July 2014, Caden started on a low intensity drug called DFMO that will hopefully provide a good quality of life and keep his disease at bay.

We all long for the day when a cure is found.


Latest Journal Update

Temporary Holding Pattern

After talking with Caden's Salt Lake City oncologist / DFMO trial doctor yesterday, the consensus of the trial safety officer and others in Grand Rapids is to continue to hold Caden's DFMO in the hopes that his hearing improves even more.  We will retest his hearing here in Bozeman on Jan. 30 and probably start back up on a lower, yet to be determined dose.  My understanding is that Caden is the only child on the trial to date that has had this extent of hearing loss from the drug, requiring a "protocol deviation".

In the meantime, Caden started with a bit of a cold on Saturday, and today when I picked him up from school, he was clearly not feeling well.  He had a fever and lots of ear pain.  A pediatrician confirmed that he has a very bad ear infection, even thought his eardrum might rupture, so he's on antibiotics for that.  We hope this doesn't affect his hearing recovery or postpone his DFMO further, but we will see...  It is hard to see him hurting and not feeling well.  A lot of memories resurfaced as I pulled out the old bottle of ibuprofen left over from when he first got sick from the neuroblastoma. (Yes, I tossed it.). But, there was also a strange comfort of old normalcy to be able to walk into a pharmacy, get a $5.33 prescription, have him drink it before climbing in his bed, and feel confident it would "fix" my child's simple ear infection.  I'll never forget the time he was admitted to the hospital for an ear infection during treatment!  We have a new perspective for sure, one that is quite valuable to me.

I don't say it often enough, but thanks for all of the comments on here.  We've read every one, and even though we don't get to respond to them, we sure do appreciate them.


27 people hearted this


10 Comentarios

Christopher Mumme
By Chris
It has been awhile since I checked in and I just knew that Caden's Got This!!! What a trooper! It really made me hurt all over reading about his ear infection and running a fever. This time though it can be taken care of with some ibuprofen and a whole lot of love. Just reading all your journals solidifies my belief that your love has been what pulls him through.
Kate Schwartz
Hope he feels better very soon! So sorry he's in pain! Get well Caden!
Patricia Traviglia
By Pat Traviglia
Caden is a trooper. When I have a medical issue, I think of him and all he and your family have been through. Here's to curing that ear infection and moving on from there. My thoughts are with you
Derek Gaasch
By Derek Gaasch
We too know all about holding patterns... thinking our best thoughts about caden and all of you.
Helen Naffziger
By Ron & Helen
I'll be praying for my sweet little buddy! Hope he feels better soon. Be sure to give him lots of love and hugs from Ron and I!!
Also I'll be praying for you Pam. Hope no one else gets the crud that's going around.
Susan McConnell
By Susan McConnell
Ouch! Ear infections are no fun! Having had a few as an adult I have great sympathy for Caden! I hope the meds take hold quickly and he is feeling better soon!
Praying that his hearing will improve and he can continue with the trial!
Hang in!!
HUGS from Connecticut!
Meredith Haff
By Meredith & the Vermonters
"Protocol deviation" is a great way to say he's a special, kind, awesome boy! I hope your protocol deviation feels better soon!
Tricia Giles
By Tricia Giles
Sorry to hear about Caden's ear infection. Poor little guy😔 . I can only imagine how you must be anxious about the DFMO trail, the hearing loss and having to wait to restart. Caden has come so far...you don't want THE C to get the upper hand. Hang in there. Thanks for the update.
Keeping Caden in my prayers daily.
Susan McConnell
By Susan McConnell
Praying for him and for all of you and his medical team!
susan backstrom
By susan backstrom