Vision problems in 8-year-old child first clue to cancer diagnosis

Almost immediately, however, he told her, “It doesn’t matter, I can see.”

She said he had done it several times that day. Tina thought it was a little weird and thought maybe he needed glasses. Her husband Robert, also a teacher in the school district, wore glasses and she just thought that maybe Lucas had his father’s evil eyes.

After several doctor’s appointments, the family learned that it was ultimately not his vision. Instead, they found out that Lucas, who had just turned 8 on July 2, had medulloblastoma, which is the most common type of cancerous brain tumor in children.

He was diagnosed with medulloblastoma on February 21, 2019.

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Lucas Bosma, 8, shown in a photo taken last month, is in remission after being diagnosed with medulloblastoma on February 21, 2019. Medulloblastoma is the most common type of cancerous brain tumor in children.  (Contributed)

Lucas Bosma, 8, shown in a photo taken last month, is in remission after being diagnosed with medulloblastoma on February 21, 2019. Medulloblastoma is the most common type of cancerous brain tumor in children. (Contributed)

And this year, he was the honorary survivor of the Douglas County Relay For Life at its virtual event on Friday July 10.

Tina and Robert said they were very touched that Lucas was chosen as this year’s honorary survivor.

“We never dreamed that we would be in the place we are in, but here we are,” Tina said, with Robert adding: “It’s very humbling to have the community support that we’ve had. . “

They added that if their son’s story can help another family, it is worth it.

When Tina thought her son needed glasses, she made an appointment to have his eyes checked. Three weeks later, Lucas was at Eye Associates in Alexandria to have his eyes examined by Dr. John Hoven.

“We weren’t really worried about anything at this point,” said Tina, who also noted that her son had large eyes and they always appeared to be dilated.

Tina learned that her son’s optic nerves were swollen and her instructions were to call Lucas’ pediatrician and make sure he was scheduled for a CT scan.

“We weren’t even strapped to the car when I got a call from our pediatrician and told to go to the hospital for the scan,” Tina recalls.

She was asked if her husband was with her and if he wasn’t, he had to be. At that point, she knew it had to be something serious. Robert met her with Lucas in the hospital and her mother went to their house to watch over their other son, Archie, who just turned 5.

Lucas Bosma of Alexandria, who is a brain cancer survivor and is this year's Honorary Relay For Life survivor, is shown playing cars with his younger brother, Archie.  (Contributed)

Lucas Bosma of Alexandria, who is a brain cancer survivor and is this year’s Honorary Relay For Life survivor, is shown playing cars with his younger brother, Archie. (Contributed)

Tina and Robert discovered that their son had a lump on his brain and needed further examination. They were told that hospitals and children’s clinics in Minnesota were waiting for them to do the necessary tests on their son.

“Lucas was so sad because the next day was the 100th day of school and there was a party and he was going to miss it,” Tina said.

But the family did as they were told, went home with clothes on and headed for the towns.

When they got there, they went to the campus of the children’s hospital in Minneapolis, when they actually needed to go to the one in St. Paul. Lucas was able to take a ride in the ambulance, eventually arriving and checking in at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Paul’s Campus at Children’s Hospital at around 2 a.m.

“It was so weird. We were like, we’re here but he’s doing fine, ”Tina said. “We were talking to doctors to ask if they were sure we had the right people. They told us yes, you must be here.

Lucas immediately had an external ventricular drain put in his head because of the extra fluid that was building up, making it difficult for him to see. The shunt, Tina said, was a game-changer for the severity of what was going on. At that time, they didn’t know it was cancer. They thought it was just a lump on his brain.

The couple eventually learned that it wasn’t a lump, but a tumor, which meant it was cancerous and their son would have surgery again.

“It was huge,” said Robert. “And it was the longest week of our lives.”

The Bosmas explained that when Lucas was in PICU his brother could not come visit him, which was difficult for the two boys. Family members took care of Archie so that Tina and Robert could be with Lucas.

Robert explained that the doctors had the tumor completely removed, but that Lucas still needed other treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy.

This photo of 8-year-old Lucas Bosma from Alexandria was taken just before entering the operating room for surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his brain.  (Contributed)

This photo of 8-year-old Lucas Bosma from Alexandria was taken just before entering the operating room for surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his brain. (Contributed)

“It’s like removing the palm of your hand, but not knowing if the fingers were still there,” Robert said.

The family spent 22 days in the children’s hospital before treatment began.

Radiation therapy was the first and would be a very targeted treatment on his brain and spine. The Bosmas were very grateful that this type of treatment could be performed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, as a new clinic specializing in this type of treatment had recently opened there. If not, the family would have had to travel out of state for their treatments.

The protocol included 30 radiotherapy treatments – once a day Monday through Friday – for six weeks. For the treatments, Tina said Lucas needed to be sedated, but he didn’t mind that as the doctors and specialists at Mayo were the “tallest people in the world.”

During those six weeks, Tina stayed with Lucas while Robert stayed at home with Archie.

“The time apart has been very hard,” said Robert. “We were talking morning and evening. “

When he finished the radiotherapy treatments, Lucas had some free time before the chemotherapy treatments started. Her first chemotherapy appointment was on June 10, 2019.

Lucas Bosma, from Alexandria, is shown ringing the bell after his last radiation therapy last year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  The 8-year-old boy is shown with his parents, Robert and Tina, and his younger brother, Archie.  (Contributed)

Lucas Bosma, from Alexandria, is shown ringing the bell after his last radiation therapy last year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The 8-year-old boy is shown with his parents, Robert and Tina, and his younger brother, Archie. (Contributed)

For his treatments, Lucas participated in a St. Jude study, which consisted of four months of chemotherapy. The first eight days of the month he would receive treatment, with the first five days to be in hospital. However, his parents said that something always seemed to happen, like Lucas would cut himself and end up with an infection, which would bring him back to the hospital right away. During those four months, he spent much of his time at either the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital or St. Cloud Hospital.

He finished his treatments in September of last year and now he has exams every three months. Ultimately, it will be every six months and then once a year.

When he finally underwent all of the treatments and aftereffects, Tina and Robert said they had their son back. He is now full of energy, again showing his cycling skills, spending time playing with his little brother and just being a typical boy

Throughout this process, the Bosmas have said they are very grateful and grateful for all the support they have received – from the fundraisers that have taken place to the GoFundMe page to all the support from the staff at school, parents and friends.

“The people are amazing and we are very humble,” Tina said.

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