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Halsten is a very sweet 6 year old who runs up to the people he loves, squeezes their legs and says, “Mmmm, huggies!” He is very patient, loving and strong-willed. He loves singing and dancing to music and playing with his shape-sorting ball. He is busy every moment living his life with joy.
Halsten is a survivor of anaplastic ependymoma, a form of brain cancer. For 2 months, he had been throwing up and neither his family nor his pediatrician could figure out why. Finally, after a CT scan, doctors gave Halsten’s family the terrifying, unreal news that Halsten had a large mass on the back of his brain. He was whisked by ambulance across the river and state line from his home in Washington state to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Oregon.
Halsten’s treatment involved brain surgery to remove the tumor. It ended up being a riskier and more difficult surgery than expected, but, except for a slight lazy eye which resolved, he has had no side effects. Luckily his cancer had not spread to his spine, meaning that he did not need chemotherapy – an amazing blessing amid the difficulties of treatment!
Halsten underwent 30 rounds of radiation to the tumor site and a picc line placed for daily sedation and weekly blood draws. He was happy and sweet through it all (mostly - he was still a normal 2 year old, after all!) and he stayed pretty healthy. He was able to eat without a feeding tube and maintained a normal energy level. He was a miracle patient and quickly became the sweetheart of the radiology and oncology departments. Everyone loved him and for good reason!
After going through so much, Halsten is now, wonderfully, NED. He is a joyful, well-adjusted little man who steals everyone’s hearts. Despite a recurrence at 4 years old that required additional surgery and radiation, he's now healthy and finished a successful year of kindergarten.
Halsten’s mom writes that the cancer journey “is scary and difficult and painful, but it is also filled with self-realization, hope, love, friend/family/community support, and indescribable blessings from above. Through all the difficulties we faced, we learned so much that helps us become better people, a stronger family and more empathetic toward others going through similar situations.”
Information provided by Monica Loomis, Halsten’s Momma
Updated July 2018
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