Travis is full of love, strength, determination, faith, compassion and has a very positive outlook on life. He loves his family, friends, school, soccer, building Legos, the beach, drawing, reading, gardening, and is very close to his brother, Tyler, and our dog, Cisco. As a competitive soccer player, Travis is very passionate about anything having to do with the sport.
Just after turning 10 years old, at the end of November, 2012, Travis started suffering some dizziness, headaches and stomach nausea that kept getting worse over the next few months. During that time, he had various tests done including nutrition and hydration, cardiology, Ear/Nose and Throat, and we were preparing to see a GI specialist and a Neurologist. But, at the beginning of March, 2013, he became progressively worse and our Pediatrician decided it was best to admit him to Rady Children’s Hospital so they could have a team of specialist figure out what was going on.
We checked in on Monday night, March 4th, and the doctors were leaning towards Migraines with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. However, the only way to diagnose Migraines is to rule everything else out. So on Tuesday afternoon, an MRI was done of Travis’ head and on Wednesday morning, they repeated the MRI on his head while also including the full spine. On Wednesday afternoon, they confirmed our worst fears and told us that they found a tumor in his 4th brain ventricle and performed surgery the very next day to remove it.
After the surgery on Thursday, March 7th, the surgeon reported that the tumor came out clean and everything went as well as he expected. In fact, he stated that this was one of the easier surgeries he has done in the grand scheme of things if you can believe brain surgery can be easy. With our heads still spinning, we were able to breathe a big sigh of relief over this first step and focus on helping Travis feel better during his recovery after surgery.
Over the course of the next week, through the pathology of the tumor, the doctors determined that the tumor was malignant which meant Travis needed further treatment of Radiation and Chemotherapy to beat the Cancer. Our Neuro-Oncologist recommended that if at all possible, we should try to have the Proton Radiation Therapy done at MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Houston, TX since they are the best in the world. When he told us that if it was his daughter, that is where he would be, it was just a matter of figuring out the logistics. Decision made!
We spent 7 weeks during the months of April and May in Houston for Travis’ 6 weeks of Proton Radiation Therapy. Although it was a new environment, Houston was very good to us and it became our home away from home. We met so many incredible people and we were really well taken care of like family. Lynne’s mom was able to come to Carlsbad for 6 weeks so that she could help out with Tyler while we battled through Radiation in Houston. With the treatment successfully completed, we drove back home over Memorial Day weekend.
Back home, the doctors then gave us 6 weeks off before starting 6 monthly rounds of Chemotherapy. So Travis was able to finish out the school year with his class and his friends. We started Chemotherapy on Friday, July 5th and were able to finish in December, 2013, just before Christmas as Travis had wished. The reality is that CANCER SUCKS and the treatments are very tough for anyone to go through. But, we know we are doing the best things we can for Travis.
Tyler has been a huge help through all of this and he has grown in so many ways! Besides just getting taller, we have had to rely on him and trust him to be responsible when we need to focus on Travis. Tyler has: taken care of dinner for himself; taken care of Cisco, done his homework; gotten in bed on time; made his own lunches; and gotten up for school all by himself all of which are big for a teenager. We have told him over and over how much this means to us that we can depend on him to be responsible when we need to be with Travis and that we are very proud of him.
As you can imagine, we never thought we would be here in our wildest dreams. It has been an emotional roller coaster going from talking about the possibility of migraines on the Wednesday morning to finding out about the tumor that afternoon and then having the surgery the next day on Thursday. Then finding out the tumor was cancerous and learning everything we have had to about the various treatments. The good thing is that we have world class medical care, we caught things early and we have an amazing support system. Also, Travis is a little fighter (unlike his dad who cries over a paper cut) so we are optimistic about a full recovery.
Even though we have had a difficult journey with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, we continue facing things head on, taking things one step at a time with a positive attitude and we have faith that everything will work out.
Travis is a Warrior!
Tony, Lynne, Tyler and Travis