Our favorite tattooed little preschooler is Kyle. Kyle had to get dots permanently tattooed on parts of his body for radiation treatment. They are tiny dots that are hard to find, but his favorite thing to tell people is that he has tattoos. He thinks he’s pretty cool because of it. He’s right, but that’s not all that makes him cool.
Kyle, now five, was diagnosed with stage IV Wilms tumor in November of 2017. He received nine months of treatment that were challenging for his family. At the time, they lived three hours from Fargo and a large amount of his treatments were inpatient, which meant that his family was often split up. Kyle’s little brother was born ten days after he was diagnosed so it was difficult for his mom, Elizabeth, to care for an ill three-year-old and a newborn all while being away from home.
Kyle is doing great now. He is a smart, loving little guy, but he does have side-effects from some of the harsher treatments. He struggled with bladder issues for a while, but now he seems to be just fine living with only one kidney. He has had 18 months of clear scans, so this summer he will be moved to annual scans. His family is optimistic because research shows that with this type of cancer, 85% of relapses occur in the first two years. Long-term, Kyle likely will not be able to have children, he is at a high-risk for heart and lung problems later in life, and skeletal growth will need to be watched as he matures because he could develop scoliosis due to the radiation near his spine. There is also high risk of developing a secondary cancer down the road because of the strong chemotherapies that were used as well as radiation. The White family tries not to focus on all of those possibilities and just enjoy that their little guy is doing so well now. They feel blessed.
Kyle says that he wants to be either a potter or a construction worker when grows up. His mom thinks that it may come from his love of Play-Doh. She said, “Spending hours in a hospital bed, that was his favorite escape, so he just wants to play with mud and clay when he grows up.”