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Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET)
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Kaitlyn is a sweet, gentle and fun 15 year old. She enjoys hanging out with friends, loves water polo and likes/tolerates competitive swimming. She’s a good student and never stops reading.
Kaitlyn was rather busy with upcoming finals last year in addition to participating on the swim team and her water polo club team, so it was no surprise that she seemed more tired than usual. She was competing in a water polo tournament where she appeared sluggish in the pool and suffered a weird numbness to the middle finger of her left hand. Her dad was trying to be supporting, so he, pushed her about how she was getting beat in the pool and needed to up her level of effort.
The next week, she seemed slow in the water again and took an elbow to the head. This is not uncommon in water polo matches, but she started feeling dizzy and came out of the game. After the game, her family watched closely for concussion signs. She was sporadically dizzy, then a few hours later came fatigue and finally vomiting. They went to the emergency room fully expecting the doctors to say she had suffered a minor concussion and to keep a close eye on her. Instead the doctor dropped the news that her CAT scan showed a large brain tumor that needed immediate specialized medical attention. She was directly transported by ambulance to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital in California. Two days later, the tumor was removed during surgery.
Afterwards, she went through seven weeks of proton radiation to the brain and spine. She recently finished chemotherapy but so far the scans have stayed consistent without anything growing.
Her parents just want her to be able to experience a relatively normal life. She plans to play water polo in college and go on to have a positive impact on everyone around her.
Kaitlyn is her family’s hero because while it is said that 70% of medical problems are due to how people live, this diagnosis was completely arbitrary and she is stronger than any of her family and friends. She doesn't linger on her "bad luck" but rather looks forward to when she is healthy again and able to return competitively to the pool. Her father is supposed to be her strength, but more often than not, she is his strength.
They want anyone facing childhood cancer to know that you are not alone. There are as many resources as you desire. Whether it is family, friends, church or organizations. They have leaned on any and all and received nothing but awesome assistance.
Her family is looking forward to getting involved with local ALSF events and enjoyed having a place to find information and help. They appreciate that it provides a way for people to get involved and help others in similar situations.
Her favorite quote is from C.S. Lewis: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
Information provided by Jerry Horner, Kaitlyn’s father
Updated December 2017
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