Thank you for everyone's continued support as Wade's Army continues the fight against neuroblastoma. As awareness for this pediatric cancer has increased, so has the need to help families dealing with the financial and emotional wake of their child's treatment. We are committed to helping these families as they stand strong along side their children in the fight.
Today we share the story of Ethan Martin and his family. We first met Jimmy, Ethan's father, at a fundraiser in Fremont, California, September, 2014, during a workout fundraiser at CrossFit of Fremont. Since then we have been checking in with the family and have provided support for Ethan and his family.
Below, Jimmy shares the Ethan's experience with neuroblastoma. Thank you for taking the time to read their story. Soon we will launch '30 Days For Wade', a campaign featuring a limited edition Wade's Army uniform and feature many of the stories of love and determination by families as one of their own takes on neuroblastoma. All proceeds from this campaign will go directly to selected families in need of financial support during their child's fight.
Ethan Martin was diagnosed in February of 2014 with Neuroblastoma. Ethan was 17 months old at the time of treatment.
A few weeks prior to Ethan being diagnosed he began to run a low grade fever and became constipated. The only way to give Ethan any relief was to rub his belly. While doing this my wife and I felt a large lump in his abdomen. At the time we though it was due to him being constipated.
My wife took Ethan to our pediatrician believing he would need some medicine so he could get some relief. After our pediatrician began to feel Ethan's abdomen he was convinced that it was a growth. He immediately sent us to the hospital for blood work, x-ray, and an ultra sound. Obviously we were scared to death.
That night I called my mother to explain what was happening with Ethan and we did not know the results of the tests yet. As I explained to my mother Ethan's symptoms, she told me this sounded like what my older sister had. Prior to me being born my sister was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of three. She went through a rigorous treatment and survived. I immediately had a sinking feeling in my gut that Ethan had this horrible cancer.
The following day we waited for the call from the doctor. Late that afternoon we received the call and the doctor informed us that there was an unknown mass in Ethan's abdomen and he had already contacted Children's Hospital in Oakland. He told us that they were expecting us and we needed to respond immediately to the emergency room there.
My wife and I took Ethan immediately to the emergency room where we went through several tests to confirm the diagnosis. We were told the mass was about the size of an adult fist and was growing off of the gland located above Ethan's kidney. Part of these tests were to perform a biopsy of the mass. This was done but there was major complications.
The mass continued to bleed into Ethan's abdomen after the biopsy. They attempted to minimize the bleeding after the biopsy, but explained to us that the mass was very fragile and they hoped it would stop bleeding on its own. After several days in the ICU and several blood transfusions later, Ethan continued to bleed into his stomach and we watched as his stomach became extended to the point we though he was going to pop.
The pressure in his abdomen began to increase and eventually began to press on his lungs making it hard for him to breathe. One night within the ICU with Ethan, he began to have several problems. At one point a whole team of doctors were working on him in an attempt to keep him breathing. He was on the biggest ventilator the hospital had and he was overworking this machine.
That morning the doctors came to Yolanda and I and said we had to make some tough decisions. They explained to us that if we left Ethan on the ventilator and he worsened he would die because the machine was at its max capacity and would not be able to support him much longer. The other option was to put a drain in his abdomen in an attempt to drain the fluid but feared if the pressure was released that he would bleed to death. We could tell by the the demeanor of the medical staff that they were afraid for Ethan and did not feel that he would be able to pull through.
Obviously we had to take our chances with the drain and pray for the best. After several hours of surgery to place the drain the doctors came out and told us that Ethan had done amazingly well and they felt promise about his recovery. Over the next 24 hours the drain had removed over a liter of fluid form Ethan's abdomen. Over the next week the drain removed another liter of fluid and it appeared that the bleeding had ceased.
It was 37 days from the time we brought Ethan into the emergency room till we were finally able to bring him home for the first time.
Ethan cleared a huge hurdle and continued his treatment. Over the next several months Ethan went through five rounds of chemo. We dealt with the vomit, loosing hair, no appetite, and continual fevers. He also had surgery to remove the mass which had shrunk significantly with the chemo. The surgery took about 8 hours and consisted of the the doctor removing Ethan's lower rib and displacing his diaphram in order to remove the mass. The surgery was a success and we were told they were able to remove 90 to 95% of the mass.
Ethan recovered quickly and continued his treatment. Ethan went through the Stem Cell Transplant. He handled this like a champ recovering so quickly that the doctors made us stay in the hospital for several days just because they had never released anyone that soon. We spent a total of 28 days in the hospital for this treatment.
Ethan then went through 20 rounds of radiation at UCSF in San Francisco. Ethan handled this well but had sever skin burns. We also had to drive into San Francisco every morning for this treatment which was about an 80 mile trek in Bay Area traffic.
Ethan has continued his treatment back at Children's Hospital in Oakland. He is currently going through immunitherapy treatment and is close to the end. So far Ethan has had clear scans showing no evidence of disease. He still has a few more months of treatment but we are confident that he will be clear and finally have our little boy back.
Obviously this has been a horrible experience that words cannot truly express. The continual hospital stays, medical bills, and travel expenses is an extreme burden on any family. Life does not stop while this is going on. Families still have all the other other financial obligations as before such as mortgage, insurance, car payments etc.
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Former collegiate lacrosse defensive midfielder, 4-year letter winner and 3-year team captain. Coached strength and conditioning collegiately with Georgetown University football, Men's and Women's lacrosse and Women's Crew, as well with the University of Texas at Austin's football program. Apprenticed under Raphael Ruiz of 1-FortyFour-1 studying proper implementation of science based, performance driven training systems. Head coached CrossFit Dupont's program for two years in Washington D.C. Received a Master's in Health Promotion Management from Marymount University in 2010, and has been a coach for Power Athlete since October, 2012.
Latest posts by Tex McQuilkin (see all)
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