Gage Tanner is 9 years old. He has a twin brother named Gavan, 2 sisters Jade and Saige. When he was about 2 years old, he started choking, snoring really loud and waking up at night. He has been tested for asthma, allergies, birth defects, just about anything you can think of to no avail. When he was about 4 years old, I had finally had enough and changed pediatricians, he sent me to an ENT where we discovered that he had a paralyzed vocal cord. The choking continued to worsen, he would choke so badly that he would vomit and stop breathing. So I took it upon myself to call Shands pediatric ENT specialist, the minute he looked at Gage, he sent me to a Laryngologist. After further investigation, and a CT scan, he referred me to a neurologist. After 4 years of failed tests, we received the worst news we could have possibly endured, a brain tumor. He has hearing loss in his left ear, left side of his vocal cord, uvula, and tongue are paralyzed. He has clumsiness when he walks/runs, weakness with his left arm and left leg. It is a struggle for him to breathe, eat or drink without choking. This tumor is called Ganglioglioma and it’s on his brain stem, therefore inoperable. He has undergone 8 brutal weeks of proton radiation therapy to try and shrink the tumor. A MRI showed some swelling of the brain which we were able to rectify with steroids. We were able to avoid placing a shunt for right now. They have placed a feeding tube to help feed him so we can prevent the choking episodes. The doctors said that it would get worse before it gets better so I am hoping this is the worst. He will also undergo hearing and eye testing too. His smile certainly lights up the room and no one can ever be around him without feeling his warmth and happiness.
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