"Stay strong, stay positive and focus on the perfect outcome"
Jacob Hagen-Johnson

Gage is an amazing 7 year old boy who loves all those fun bathroom words, playing with his friends and cousins and has always had a 2nd sense for hockey. He loves to play hockey whenever he is able to and has dreams of being a goalie for the Edmonton Oilers when he grows up. Gage has a sister that he loves to bug and pester but loves her very much! (Don't tell him I put that in!!!)

For a couple of months beginning in September 2016 Gage had been complaining of headaches almost daily. They usually happened at school so we thought he was having problems at school or maybe a sensitivity to the lighting. We had taken Gage into the children's emergency department in London where he received a diagnosis of Childhood Migraines ... a believable diagnosis as I suffer from migraines as well. We were told if the headaches wake him up at night, are early in the morning or he vomits with them to bring him back in.

For another month or so Gage would have the school call me mid-morning to report he had another headache so either Dave or I would go up to the school and give him an Advil or Tylenol. We honestly thought he was being bullied ... these headaches rarely happened on weekends and he would come home from school very angry and speaking negatively about himself and his abilities. He was also very angry family which was very unlike him!!!

I had made a Doctor's appointment for him with our family doctor as a headache close to everyday for over 2 months was not sitting well with us. His blood work came back perfect no problems. We were referred to the paediatrician that comes to Woodstock to start getting to the bottom of the issue. That appointment was set for Dec 1, 2016.

On Nov 23rd 2016 Gage had one of his typical daily headaches, then was sick to his stomach and by the time Dave got to the school to pick Gage up he began to have a seizure and became unresponsive in his dads arms. We were taken to Children's Hospital in London by ambulance and that night got the devastating news that there was a tumour in Gage's brain.

We were admitted and Gage had a barrage of tests done on him over the next few days but we would never get a straight answer from the different teams of doctors. We were told that if that if the MRI results on December 1st were good we would get to go home and continue testing as outpatients. Well again devastating news the tumour had changed and he needed surgery. They did the surgery within 30 minutes of our consent. From what the surgeon could tell they were able to remove all of the tumour but there was seeding in different areas of the brain.

We named the tumour Doug as we felt giving it a name would help us cope with whatever was coming next. However, this kid was the bravest out of us all through all of this. Never showing any fear or tears (other than for pokes). We were released from the hospital on December 5th but got called in to meet with the doctors as they had the pathology results back earlier than they anticipated.

Gage has a very rare form of brain cancer was the news. Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour or AT/RT for short. His treatment plan is super complicated with 2 rounds of chemo, 3 high dose rounds of chemo with transplant and radiation. Gage started his 1st round of Chemotherapy on Dec 17th. Over the next 2 months we were in the hospital more than home because of his treatment and some side effects due to the chemo drugs.

We were supposed to head off to Sick Kids in Toronto at the beginning of February but after his most recent MRI the doctors found that there was something beside where Doug was removed. They weren't able to give us an exact answer as to what it is without doing another surgery, whether it is more Doug, treatment related or possibly another kind of cancer.

On the positive side, all of the other spots (Doug's friends) were shrinking YAY!!!

Our Oncologist felt it best that we do Gage's radiation up front of the high dose chemo. No one can give us a straight answer about what the next step will be until after his next MRI. When we see the effect of the radiation on Doug and his friends, Gage's remaining treatment will be defined and we can be one step closer to a healthy future.

Sarah & Dave

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