Care close to home eases anxiety From Spotlight on Health - Fall 2012
Connor Rohde, St. Cloud, doesn’t let his cancer
slow him down.
Three-year-old Connor Rohde plowed into the lobby toward his mom, Kristin Rohde of St. Cloud. Like a little ray of sunshine, Connor squeezed into his mother’s arms for a hug.
“Another one,” demanded Connor, as Kristin squeezed him again.
Connor was finished with his appointments at St. Cloud Hospital Pediatric Rehabilitation where he was relearning how to eat and improve his fine and gross motor skills.
The way Connor jumped around, it was hard to tell that at 20 months of age a CT scan showed that he had excess fluid on the brain and a mass the size of a golf ball in the center of his brain.
Kristin and her husband, Adam, first noticed that something wasn’t right in June of 2010 when Connor started staring as if in a trance. He also started sleeping more.
The symptoms escalated — and the couple took Connor to the emergency room when he couldn’t be kept awake at daycare. The mass was confirmed as an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) — a very aggressive and rare form of cancer.
The following months would entail multiple surgeries and numerous rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. Kristin was thankful that the relationship between St. Cloud Hospital and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota allowed Connor to have lab work done at the Pediatric Short Stay Unit at CentraCare Health Plaza, instead of traveling to the Twin Cities. “Being able to travel across town for care helped lessen anxiety for Connor,” Kristin said.
Connor also could be admitted to St. Cloud Hospital when he had a fever and his blood counts were too low. He has a brain and spine scan every three months to check for regrowth or spread of his cancer. After a year of being cancer free, a scan showed a new spot on his brain stem. The Rohdes hope a trial drug will help eliminate the tumor.
“This has been an unfortunate reminder of what is really important in our lives,” Kristin said. “We need to slow down and be there for one another.”
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