Source: News Times / Rachel Spain
The walls of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora are bright and welcoming: some are covered with pictures of wildflowers, others hold distractions such as a video game console for anxious parents who wait with their children in the lobby.
But Paul Lemieux, a 25-year-old cancer survivor, was only interested in one thing on a recent Thursday in July: whether this visit to Children’s would be his last as a patient.
“I grew up a very healthy kid,” said Lemieux, who was diagnosed at age 11 with primary intracranial choriocarcinoma, an aggressive cancerous tumor in his brain. “To be diagnosed with cancer wasn’t anything I was expecting, it wasn’t anything my parents were expecting. It just hits you blindly.”
Lemieux said the hardest part of the diagnosis was the beginning, where his only symptoms were throwing up and having a terrible headache. It was a CAT scan at a Boulder clinic that revealed a mass in his brain, reported the Aurora Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2aNxgrG).
By the time he arrived at the emergency department at Children’s Colorado, doctors performed surgery on him that evening to relieve the pressure on his brain and conducted a biopsy, which revealed that the growth was malignant. That followed with a hospital stay where he underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation.
“I missed most of my sixth grade year,” Lemieux said. A year later, Lemieux was given news that he was in remission, but for nearly 15 years has returned to Children’s for treatments and checkups with pediatric oncologist Dr. Nick Foreman.
Foreman, who has served as Lemieux’s physician for over a decade at Children’s, brought two brain scans to what both hoped would be Lemieux’s last appointment. The first showed Lemieux’s tumor from the time he was diagnosed in 2002, the second was the newest scan.