Kian Bailey (2009-)
October 2, 2012 was the day that cancer changed our lives. Kian was a typically rambunctious, playful and sometimes stubborn 3 year old when, in the summer of 2012, he started complaining that his “head hurt.” I noticed that he was having difficulty keeping his balance. A routine annual checkup at the pediatrician failed to raise any additional concern but I knew something was wrong and when I took him back 2 weeks later, they noticed what I had been noticing. We were sent straight to the nearby hospital emergency room where Kian received a CT scan that revealed a substantial tumor in the fourth ventricle pressing against critical structures and blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.
From there, Kian was transported by ambulance to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver where a team of doctors from the Pediatric Neurosurgery Team were waiting to stabilize his hydrocephalus with a steroid regimen. Kian had his first ten-hour surgery three days later. The diagnosis was a Stage IV malignant Ependymoma. As a result of the surgery, Kian temporarily lost mobility on his right side as well as speech and swallowing abilities. Kian’s recovery from the surgery was arduous and before he could start his follow-up radiation treatment his doctors discovered the tumor had regrown. This finding resulted in two rounds of chemotherapy and a second 10-hour surgery just three months after his first. Fortunately, the second surgery resulted in no neurological damage, so he was able to promptly begin his 33 treatments of radiation therapy followed by two more rounds of chemotherapy.
Kian is now 7 years old and has had no evidence of further disease. The lasting effects of Kian’s treatment are primarily neurological. In school it takes him longer to process information than it does other kids his age and he has difficulty regulating his emotions. He is also behind in gross motor development and fine motor skills, but he has an amazing Special Education team supporting him and a school district committed to his success. As a result of their commitment, Kian is doing extremely well in school, earning all “A”s in his first year. Kian is our hero because, although every aspect of his school day is more challenging than it is for other kids, he wakes up every day with a positive attitude and leaves the house ready to conquer the world!