North Dakota ranch life is what concerns 11-year-old Ian. He lives in a remote area of Billings County, between Grassy Butte and Fairfield. Roping and riding is how his days were spent. Then in August of 2018, he was diagnosed with stage IV CNS neuroblastoma which is considered a very rare and aggressive cancer. Treatment required four brain surgeries, proton beam radiation and chemotherapy.
Ian’s doctors are now guardedly optimistic about what the future holds. Ian is generally positive but becomes very frustrated when he can no longer do independently the things that he could before, including driving the four-wheeler or riding saddle broncs. Losing his independence has been a big challenge for Ian, as is remembering things that he knows that he used to know how to do. It can be very frustrating for him. He deals with left-side weakness and some forgetfulness; both of which are side-effects of chemo, but his family is hopeful that it will improve with time and that physical therapy will help with the weakness. Another challenge is that he has lost sight in his right eye due to optic nerve changes. It is not expected to return but his family remains hopeful.
Now that treatment has ended, Ian hopes to work on improving his skills so that he can be a rancher and a carpenter when he grows up. Farm living is the life for him and his family has found that Ian prefers not to be in town. Instead, you’re more likely to find him outdoors hunting or riding horse.