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September 18, 2023, will always stick out in the memory of the Wade family. That’s the day 5-year-old Kaden Wade’s life changed.
“He had a brain tumor in the back of his brain that was the size of a baseball,” Jamie Wade, Kaden’s mother, said.
Jamie says she first suspected something was wrong when Kaden got sick at school. She thought the symptoms were related to a recent illness involving strep throat. She took Kaden to his pediatrician, who alerted the family that something more serious was happening and told them to go to Children’s of Alabama. Jamie says after they arrived at Children’s, doctors diagnosed her energetic 5-year-old boy with medulloblastoma, a rare type of brain cancer that often affects children. They scheduled Kaden’s surgery for the next day. The procedure lasted eight hours, and doctors were able to remove all of the cancer. But then, the family faced another obstacle.
“When he came out of surgery, he formed posterior fossa syndrome, where he lost the ability to talk, eat and move his arms and legs,” Jamie said. “He had to relearn how to do all of those things, and with the help of occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy, he has come so far.”
Kaden initially spent 31 days in the hospital.
“You never think it can happen to a family member, especially your child,” Jamie said. “It turned our world completely upside down. We went from a normal family routine of school, work, home, and baseball park to now it has been visits to the doctor and therapists.”
Now, Kaden visits the Children’s outpatient clinic every week for blood work to ensure his counts are high enough for chemotherapy treatments. In addition to regular outpatient visits, he also requires admission to the hospital every four to six weeks for chemotherapy treatments. Jamie credits the doctors, nurses and staff at Children’s for his progress.
“We appreciate all they have done,” Jamie said. “The neurosurgeons, physical and occupational therapists, and speech therapists are all miracle workers. His doctor, Elizabeth Alva, is very knowledgeable of what he is going through and has helped tremendously. Kaden and Dr. Alva's relationship is like that of a mother and son. She treats him like her own.”
Even though it has been months since Kaden was diagnosed, Jamie says she is still in shock. But she says Kaden is taking his diagnosis in stride and if she could use one word to describe him, it would be loving.
“Kaden has a loving spirit. For example, if he is hurting, he wants to love on someone else,” Jamie said. “That’s huge to me. I just teach him to be kind and loving to others, and knowing he gives that love when he is hurting or upset makes my heart warm.”