Caring for the entire family
When Lane Cade's mom, Chris, saw that her son had a swollen elbow in June 2017, she assumed he'd bumped it on the basketball court. When the swelling grew, Chris took Lane to see a doctor. Several blood tests later, the family received a diagnosis it never expected: Lane had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Lane and his mom made the decision to head to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse for treatment, where they could work with a multidisciplinary Pediatric Oncology team focused on helping the Coulee Region's youngest cancer patients. Gundersen's specialists in childhood cancer care for infants, children and adolescents with a variety of medical issues, ranging from bleeding disorders to malignancy to benign hematology conditions.
Patients at Gundersen also have access to cutting-edge clinical trials sponsored by the Children's Oncology Group (COG), the world's largest pediatric and adolescent cancer clinical trials organization. Through COG, Gundersen collaborates with other institutions, such as MD Anderson and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, to identify the most effective cancer treatment methods.
Even with a dedicated care team by a patient's side, Gundersen knows that navigating all of this after being newly diagnosed can feel overwhelming for children and their families. The lifestyle changes that often need to be made during treatment can be difficult for everyone involved, too. For example, Lane's treatment plan has included aggressive chemotherapy, making it important for him to avoid catching any viruses. To protect his immune system, the middle-schooler is keeping up with his schoolwork from home, with weekly visits from a dedicated teacher.
To help make these types of changes and others as easy as possible, Gundersen's pediatric oncologists collaborate with Child Life, Social Work, Spiritual Care, Behavioral Health, Nutrition Therapy, Music and Pet Therapy, and Palliative Care to ensure the entire family's needs are met, not just the patients'. This teamwork includes maintaining close communication with the child's primary care team as well to smooth the transition back to the primary care physician once the child is in remission.
It's a day that Lane and Chris look forward to welcoming.
For now, the pair is focused on getting Lane healthy, while making sure he has plenty of time to enjoy being a typical kid—one who loves to play video games and follow the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder and NFL's Seattle Seahawks. Through it all, Chris has been amazed at Lane's attitude in the face of such a life-changing event: "[He's] really amazing. He's so grown up."
Learn more about Pediatric Oncology at Gundersen