Noah Glen Nelson is the spirited, high-energy, and very witty now 11-year-old son of Lara and Andrew Nelson. Here is he and his sister, Sarah, in Summer 2010
Around March 4, 2005, Noah was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a very rare and serious pediatric cancer. His cancer is stage IV, fully metastasized and his condition is classified as high risk. This type of neuroblastoma effects only 3 in 1 million children. Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer which usually strikes children before age 5 and originates from neural crest cells (called neuroblasts) in the sympathetic nervous system, which runs from the base of the neck to the tailbone. Tumors can appear anywhere along this chain but are most commonly found near the adrenal glands - located on top of the kidneys and in the chest.
Noah's tumor is in his abdomen - wrapping around organs such as his kidney/adrenal glands and nearing his spine. It has metastasized into his bone marrow and on bone structure in the ribs, knees and eye sockets.
History: Noah hadn't been sleeping well for weeks. He would wake up nightly with restless legs. When asked what the problem was, Noah could not articulate any pain or discomfort. Advil seemed to help him feel and sleep better at the time. Over the few weeks just prior to his ultimate diagnosis, we noticed considerable stomach/abdomen distension and bloating.
With that, Lara originally brought him to the doctor. Thoughts were that Noah had minor bowel issues. Three days later, Lara requested a series of tests including bloodwork be started for further diagnosis possibilities. Bloodwork showed high sedimentation percentages in the liver....a sign that the organ(s) may be in a higher level of stress. An immediate ultrasound was completed and indicated that a mass had being growing in the abodomenal area. We were immediately admitted to Phoenix Children's Hospital for intense testing. 24 hours later, Noah was officially diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.