January 29th 2008, Jesse was diagnosed with a brainstem glioma. Due to the location of the tumor resection was not an option. Radiation treatment has shrunk the tumor considerably. The mass is considered cold, and we will monitor every 3 months. Presently Jesse is full of energy, full of life, and we cherish every moment together.
Jesse is a two and a half year old boy from Sarnia, Ontario, who can light up a room with his smile, and bright blue eyes. His favourite thing is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, particularly Raphael. He likes to pretend he is "Raffy". Jesse also enjoys watching movies, play fighting ninja turtles with his brother Jett, colouring, and going for treats.
In Jesse's first year he showed virtually no early signs or characteristics of this condition , but in his second he did not progress with his physical ability milestones. Physiotherapy, and increased exercise did not produce any benefit, so this led us to believe maybe there was something neuromuscular causing the issue. Persistence to doctors for an MRI, is what finally gave us our answers. The most horrific phone call a parent could ever receive "your son has a brain tumor". Removal was not an option, due to the severity of the location and the vital nerves it surrounds.
Jesse needed emergency surgery following his MRI, to reduce the pressure that was built up in his brain, and to do a biopsy of the tumor. A shunt was inserted to permantly relieve any pressure build up in the brain. A few days later Jesse underwent his second surgery to install a mediport in his chest to allow easier access for intravenuous medications or blood transfusions to follow. The pathology report determined that the cancer cells are of a low grade, which should thereby be less aggressive.
Jesse is received his medical attention at the St. Johns Hospital in Detroit MI, through the Childrens Oncology Group. Everyone was extremely kind, informative, considerate, and compassonate to our family and son. Jesse received radiation therapy, in conjunction with a clinical trial phase II infusion drug to enhance the effects of radiation to that specific site. Our hopes and prayers are that the tumor can shrink enough, that removal would be a possibility. The 30 Radiation sessions were completed March 18, and Jesse was home permanently from Detroit. In 4-6 weeks a second MRI was be done to determined the effects of his treatment.
The tumor had shrunk by 80%, but removal was still not an option due to the severity of the location. Today the tumor is considered dormant, and we do not know when it may decide to grow again. Chemotherapy may now be an option if it does. We can beat this, Jesse can do it.
We are all very positive here at the Morningstar household. We laugh, we cry, and we try to carry on as normal life as possible. Every day means so much more than it once did. We thank you all for your support and prayers we could not hold it together without you.
Its been a long while. Life is very good though. As the song suggests "let the good time roll", and that is what we do. Its hard to look back sometimes. Jesse and Jett are both healthy, happy, and excelling in life. They are both playing hockey, attending swimming lessons, and doing very well in school. They have lots of friends, lots of love, and are really developing into good little guys.
Jesse is due for his MRI next week, I don't expect any changes which is always good news. He lives a very active life. He has no limitations, and no complaints in anyway. Other than not getting treats all the time. He takes a thyroid medication everyday and that is it. We rarely visit the hospital anymore it seems. You can't help but to wonder the effects of the radiation to a developing brain, but he seems to be doing just fine. He is smart, witty, likes to clown around a lot, and just as cute as a button. We are just so fortunate to have this second chance with such a beautiful little man. We enjoy every minute of it.
I have included some new pictures of the boys.
Always stay positive, and thank you for the continued prayers. Someone is truly listening....