Sebastian had always been a healthy child who rarely ever had to visit the doctor, let alone an emergency room. His mother, Martha, became concerned when he began experiencing a dull headache that would not go away. She took Sebastian to his pediatrician who ran a slew of tests to check for everything from blood pressure issues to his vision, but all seemed fine. After several days of the continued headaches, Sebastian’s pediatrician recommended that the family take him to the emergency room for further testing.
Within hours, Sebastian was diagnosed with a brain tumor and with a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain due to obstruction of the normal fluid pathways, known as hydrocephalus. His doctors immediately jumped into action to create a plan for his treatment.
Sebastian had his first procedure, an operation to reduce the liquid in the brain, shortly after receiving his diagnosis.
Within the next few months, Sebastian underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.
“Although Sebastian responded well to chemotherapy, the size of the tumor continued to grow and that was of concern,” said Dr. Ziad Khatib, Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
He had several surgeries with Dr. Toba Niazi to remove the tumor and give him the best quality of life.
“Sebastian has persevered through three surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation. We have put him through so much. We are so proud of him and look forward to his successes in life as he can now focus on that and not on this diagnosis anymore,” said Dr Toba Niazi, Pediatric Neuro Surgeon and Director of Neuro Oncology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“It was not easy, but Sebastian is truly a strong boy and a fighter. It was very difficult to see him go through these obstacles, yet he was the one inspiring us to stay positive and keep us grounded,” said Martha.
Sebastian completed treatment in the summer of 2019 at age 12 and is now cancer free. The straight “A” student is aspiring to become a doctor one day, and follow in the footsteps of the doctors that saved his life.