Dylan was diagnosed at the age of 3, after having 3 bouts of strep throat and not feeling better after the third time. The nurse practitioner at his pediatrician’s office found a mass in his abdomen, which they thought was an enlarged spleen. They sent us to Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township, NJ to run blood tests and have a CT scan done. It was then determined that the mass was a tumor. We were transported to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where we were told the oncology team would be waiting for us. We were absolutely in shock. After more scans and tests, it was determined that Dylan had stage 4 neuroblastoma. He had a baseball sized tumor in his abdomen and his bone marrow all throughout his body housed cancer cells. Dylan had to undergo 5 rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, as well as full body radiation and localized radiation to the site of the tumor, which was removed after the 4th round of chemotherapy. The overall treatment process was about 9 months long. Throughout that time he had a few infections in his central line, which made for more time spent in the hospital. Dylan is currently cancer-free, but still has to be followed by the oncology team at CHOP every 6 months. He also has begun seeing the endocrinologist at CHOP, which has been following his growth since the very beginning of all of this. He receives a growth hormone injection each night before bed and will continue to do so until he hits puberty. The hormone is used to promote more growth, and in Dylan’s case his growth has been slowed due to the complete body radiation he received during treatment. He just celebrated his 8th birthday this past June and is enjoying just being a normal kid. He loves to play outside, swimming in our pool, swinging from the monkey bars, and playing tag with his friends at school; he has played soccer and tried t-ball, and would like to try football and karate. He attends school, does well and enjoys it. He is followed by the speech therapy team there, as he suffered severe hearing loss to both ears from the chemotherapy. We are so grateful for the team of doctors and nurses that cared for Dylan and all the family and friends that supported us through his illness. We are also very thankful that he is doing well and we continue to pray each day that he remains cancer-free for many years to come!
Written by John & Kristy Coleman
Updated: November 2012