Andrik Smith's Story
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Andrik is 2 1/2 yrs. old and has been battling a brain tumor for over a year now. On August 31, 2012, he was given his first CT scan, which changed his family’s life forever. Andrik was born on April 24, 2011, nine weeks early, along with his twin sister Laney. He had a lot more complications than she did from the very beginning, including a grade I brain bleed. They spent about six weeks in the NICU, before his parents got to take their babies home.
He began experiencing some developmental delays, which became more and more noticeable as time went on. His parents knew there was something else going on. After several appointments with their pediatrician, and concerns from his high-risk infant follow up team of nurses and specialists, they were finally referred to a Neurologist.
In the weeks spent waiting for the appointment, he started to show some alarming new symptoms and began regressing quickly. They took one look at Andrik, and mom's face, and knew there was something very wrong. The next day he had his CT scan, which revealed he had severe hydrocephalus, which would require the placement of a shunt in his head, to drain the fluid from his brain to his stomach, and relieve the pressure off of his brain. The MRI showed a giant mass on his brainstem, blocking one of his ventricles, which was what was causing the hydrocephalus. Next came surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. The surgeon was able to successfully remove about 75% safely, then they waited for the pathology report.
In early September, he was diagnosed with a Grade III Anaplastic Astrocytoma. His parents were horrified to learn that their baby boy had cancer! He began chemo once he was healed from surgery and has been on this chemo protocol for over a year now. So far his tumor is stable. He will soon be taken off chemo, where theys will wait and see through frequent MRI's (every three months or so) how the tumor responds, which will then determine the next course of action. The future is unknown, but Andrik and his family remain hopeful that he will win the battle with this monster, and that one day there will be a cure for all pediatric cancers!