Honored Kid

Nathan H.

Age 12
Nathan H. Kid Photo

Location

Greer, SC, US

Diagnosis

Retinoblastoma

Date of Diagnosis

May 2009

Status

In treatment

Treated At

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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My Story

Hi my name is Nathan. I am 3 years old, and I have bilateral retinoblastoma, a very rare childhood cancer of the retina. When I was 5 months old, my mommy and daddy started noticing a white light reflection in my left eye when they would take my picture. At first they thought that it was just bad photography or the angle at which the picture was being taken, but then it started appearing in every picture. My mommy showed some of the pictures to family and friends who suggested that she talk to my doctor about it. So at my six month check-up my mommy showed the pictures to my doctor. He sent us to an ophthalmologist the very next day. This doctor said that he thought I had retinoblastoma in both eyes. He sent us to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. We spent three days in Charleston, and I had my first EUA, eye exam under anesthesia, there. Dr. Teed officially diagnosed me with retinoblastoma. The doctors also did several other tests while I was there, including blood work and an MRI. All of the test results were good, indicating that I was a healthy baby boy except for two tumors, one in each eye. After discussion with and recommendations from the doctors at MUSC, mommy and daddy decided the best place for my treatment was St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. We arrived at St. Jude on June 1, 2009, and I began to meet all the wonderful doctors and nurses that would be taking care of me, including my wonderful ophthalmologist Dr. Wilson and my wonderful oncologist, Dr. Qaddoumi. They explained a research protocol to us that they had been using successfully to treat my kind of cancer. It includes eleven courses of chemo over about eight months and chemo eye injections when necessary. I had a central line inserted on June 3, 2009 and began chemo on June 8, 2009. I have now completed all 11 courses of chemo and am doing very well. We were traveling every two to three weeks to St. Jude for tests, chemo, and EUAs. My tumors have responded very well to chemo. After just the first course they had shrunk more than 75%. What did not shrink is calcified, dead cells. Dr. Wilson also lasered and froze some of the remaining tumor cells. The chemo makes me feel icky for a few days, but I am usually back to my playful self pretty quickly. Even though I have finished my chemo, I will still have to return frequently to St. Jude for EUAs as new tumors can continue to form. I don't mind coming to St. Jude often though because everyone is so good to me and takes such good care of me. Thank you so much for reading my story and please continue to pray for me and my family. The Lord has been so good to us and taken such good care of me through all of this. Be sure to check out my more recent info under the "update" tab.

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