Featured Little Hero Wes Pak
Wes was born two weeks early on December 21, 2005. He is a fun-loving, intelligent, and compassionate young boy with faith like no other. He enjoys soldiers, Star Wars, and anything involving animals/bugs. He became a big brother on March 13th and a cancer warrior on June 24, 2011, when he was diagnosed with stage 3/stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma cancer. Shortly after graduating preschool in May, Wes began to feel severe abdominal pain on and off, alongside a minimal appetite. He began to look extremely thin. He was taken to the doctor on June 9th in which they told us that it was constipation. Wes was treated for constipation for two weeks before he was taken back to the doctor on June 24th, with still no change. Something was wrong. The doctor began to restate the same previous prognosis, but we informed him that we could feel a small hardness under his rib. The doctor called for an x-ray, thinking it could be an enlarged spleen. Shortly after the test was done, we received a phone call from the doctor and he wanted us to go to Children’s Hospital of King’s Daughter’s emergency room, as something was seen on the x-ray. At that moment our lives had changed forever. After doing a CT scan there, they discovered a large mass taking up most of the left side of his abdomen, which was pressing against many organs, causing him to feel full all the time. At the time of diagnosis the mass was too large to remove. Wes remained in the hospital over the weekend waiting for more tests to be done the following Monday. Wes underwent a bone scan which showed that his bones were clear of disease. That Tuesday he experienced surgery for his first time. A biopsy and bone marrow were done to find out details on the mass. At the same time a CVL/central line was placed in one of his main veins by his heart for easier access. The following day the monster had a name. Neuroblastoma. This was the disease that was wreaking havoc on our five year old boy. Soft tissue was also found on one of his lymph nodes that they are watching closely. Chemotherapy began that Friday. For the following two weeks, Wes continued to spike random fevers overnight, causing him to have to extend his stay at CHKD. He was soon placed on TPN or nutrition through the line, as he was steadily losing weight from not eating. July 15, 2011, a miracle happened. The fevers stopped and Wes got to go home. In addition, another CT scan was done to ensure there was not any fungus in his body causing the fevers. We were told by the oncologist that normally they expect to have seen the tumor somewhat bigger after their initial diagnosis, due to the fact that it had been less than two weeks since his start of treatment. His on the other hand, was stabilized! Wes continued on TPN at home, but soon his appetite returned greater than ever. Wes returns to CHKD for another five day stay of chemotherapy in hopes it will shrink the mass so that surgery may be possible. He will have six total rounds of chemotherapy, possible surgery, radiation, and a harvesting of cells that will last for a year to a year and a half. Every 21 days he will be admitted to CHKD for 5-6 days of therapy. This September will be very hard as Wes would be starting his first year of kindergarten. However, due to his illness he will have to have a tutor at home, and will not get to enjoy the interaction with other children, or riding the bus like so many look forward to. Wes is a strong young boy with few complaints. Even though his life has drastically changed, his faith, heart, and spirits have not.
Follow Wes’s updates: www.caringbridge.com/visit/wespak
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