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In January 2004, Easton was discovered to be suffering from choroid plexus carcinoma, a rare malignant brain tumor.
Easton had been a good baby, but by the time he reached his first birthday, he seemed to have become a “bad.” That's the only way his parents could describe the initial change they saw their son undergo as a tumor called choroid plexus carcinoma grew in her son’s brain. Easton went from "sweet and easy-going" to cranky and inconsolable. He began to bang his head against the wall and throw up most mornings, and neither his parents nor Easton’s doctor could figure out the cause.
This continued until the week after Christmas, when Easton’s right eye began to turn inward. Julie and her husband immediately took their son back to the doctor, where a nurse practitioner put all the pieces of the puzzle together. The nurse ordered a CT scan as soon as possible. “And that’s when we found out he had a six centimeter tumor in his little head,” Julie said.
The surgery to remove the tumor was unsuccessful. Easton lost a good deal of blood, forcing surgeons to stop the operation. “He bled so much; he was on a ventilator ten days afterward, unconscious and probably worse off than I realize even now,” Julie said. Easton was referred to St. Jude.
Easton underwent 10 weeks of chemotherapy to harden the tumor in order for St. Jude surgeons to remove it. This time, surgeons were able to remove the tumor entirely. After speaking with the doctor, the Wargos asked the anesthesiologist how long her son would be on a ventilator this time. “He’s not on a ventilator. He’s half awake,” the anesthesiologist replied. The Wargos were joyously stunned.
Afterward, Easton began 10 more weeks of chemotherapy, followed by conformal radiation, a new way of delivering radiation straight to the tumor without affecting other areas of the brain. “That really is what gives patients Easton’s age with such an aggressive tumor a lot more hope,” Julie said. By August 2004, Easton was walking, talking and, more importantly, improving. “I love everybody at St. Jude,” Julie said. He underwent 20 more weeks of maintenance chemotherapy, and finished treatment in February 2005.
Easton begins Kindergarten in August 2008! While he has experienced some delays as a result of his treatment, he is a happy and typically rambunctious little boy, and will start school in a regular classroom with his peers. He loves swimming, biking, swinging, playing “hoops” or anything outdoors; inside he spends most of his time building with Legos and doing puzzles. He is also a big fan of Spiderman, Superman and the Wiggles. Easton also loves St. Jude, and enthusiastically looks forward to his check-up visits every six months.
Last updated: July 2008