‘Top of the cool chart’ | Health Beat

‘Top of the cool chart’ | Health Beat

When Aaron Coon, 14, commenced struggling headaches in summertime 2021, his parents scheduled him an eye examination.

“He would get in touch with me from college and say his head hurt so terrible he was going to throw up,” Rachel Coon, his mom, stated. “My motherly instincts explained there was one thing likely on.”

She and her partner, Ed Coon, predicted it would pan out like any standard eye exam—quick and straightforward.

But shortly after Aaron went into the exam room, some thing felt off.

“I stored pondering, ‘He’s again there a great deal more time than when I experienced my eyes checked,’” Rachel stated.

The ophthalmologist identified Aaron with critical papilledema all around his optical nerves, and instructed Rachel and Ed to acquire him instantly to the closest emergency division, with out stopping alongside the way for any explanation.

A CT scan would demonstrate a tumor on Aaron’s mind. Doctors immediately transferred him to Spectrum Well being Helen DeVos Children’s Healthcare facility, exactly where they diagnosed him with quality 4 glioblastoma.

“It all took place so fast,” Rachel stated. “We understood within just a day that Aaron would need to have surgery. And it was scheduled proper away.”

The surgical procedures took nine hours, with a tumor the dimension of a softball removed from his head.

“Doctors explained to us that it had been there so extended it started off to alter the condition of his skull,” Rachel mentioned.

He started actual physical therapy proper absent.

Therapists had been stunned that Aaron had all his dexterity just after surgical procedure.

The household quickly satisfied with Rebecca Loret De Mola, DO, pediatric oncologist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Less than Dr. Loret De Mola’s treatment, Aaron would start out radiation treatment. He and his moms and dads would journey from Muskegon to Grand Rapids five days a week for the next six weeks.

‘An exceptionally talented artist’

Quick ahead a several months.

For one particular entire working day, each other 7 days, you are going to come across Aaron in the 10th-ground infusion clinic at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a backpack complete of sketchbooks and sharpies often on hand.

He’s now on a routine of chemotherapy.

The superior information: He explained he has small to no facet effects from cure.

For the duration of his visits to the children’s medical center, Aaron has identified terrific inspiration in art. He’s assembled a dozen distinct sketchbooks. The web pages are prosperous with drawings of previous vehicles and vans, and artistic interpretations of vintage cartoon people these types of as Donald Duck, Sponge Bob and Mickey Mouse.

“He works by using all types of things for his drawings,” Rachel explained. “Colored pencils, chalk, ink, and even white out.”

She joked that the relatives ought to have inventory in Sharpie, as they invest hundreds of bucks on markers to retain up with Aaron’s new hobby.

A single of his most new creations: a caricature of Mary Waskerwitz Freyer, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the pediatric hematology and oncology clinic at Helen DeVos Children’s Medical center.

“I’ve been executing this for 46 a long time, and Aaron hits the major of the amazing chart,” Waskerwitz Freyer mentioned. “He’s an incredibly talented artist.”

Baby Lifestyle professional Erica Tooker agreed.

“That sketch appears to be like like nurse Mary’s bitmoji,” Tooker reported. “We will need to have you host a demonstrate on Blue Glass Television to educate all the youngsters in the clinic how to attract.”

Aaron’s favourite drawing? Donald Duck with an frame of mind. He’s also quick to sketch Tom, from Tom & Jerry, only with bloodshot eyes.

“That’s me on a Monday morning, waking up and knowing I have to go to university,” Aaron said.

“His art often makes me ponder what is likely via his head,” Rachel claimed, laughing.

Automobiles at heart

Aaron and his father are auto buffs, as well. They invest weekends at basic auto displays, exactly where they display off Aaron’s satisfaction and joy—a dazzling yellow 1966 Dodge Dart GT.

Aaron signed a agreement with his dad. If he retains his grades up, the automobile will be his when he will get his license.

“I instructed him he has to try his most effective, but he doesn’t want to be excellent,” Ed reported.

And he’s acing most of his lessons.

The Coons and a handful of other households have formed a nearby motor vehicle club that goes on weekly drives collectively. He and his father restore antique tractors, too. Their crowning accomplishment is a vibrant pink 1946 Farmall BN tractor.

“The to start with time I check drove it, I popped a wheelie,” Aaron explained.

The tractor is a two-seater, so he and his father can experience jointly.

“Mom desired a seat on a tractor,” Aaron mentioned. “I mentioned I would place a cart on again with a recliner for her.”

Aaron enjoys to share his abilities with other folks. He and his father fulfill all types of outstanding individuals at car reveals, where Aaron normally draws the cars and trucks and gives the artwork to the house owners.

He as soon as drew a 1936 Oldsmobile and gave the sketch to a few who owned the auto. He handed it to them just as they ended up readying to go away.

“They were being shocked I did it so rapidly and stored expressing how magnificent it was,” he said.

‘Positive attitude’

Most days, Aaron is a joker at coronary heart.

On a latest weekday in the infusion clinic at the children’s healthcare facility, he shuffled a deck of cards and appeared all-around.

“Do you want my business card?” he asked a nurse, handing her the joker.

In general, Aaron is accomplishing very well, Dr. Loret De Mola claimed.

“He recently had an MRI that ongoing to display no recurrent ailment, which is incredibly great news,” she mentioned. “This is an amazingly tricky tumor to overcome and the therapy that he has experienced so far—surgery, radiation, chemotherapy—all feel to be keeping it beneath regulate.”

The discipline of neuro-oncology procedure is evolving quickly, she said.

That could steer Aaron’s cure moving forward.

“We have more molecularly targeted brokers obtainable for tumors like this than we have at any time had just before,” she explained. “I’m incredibly hopeful. Aaron has had these kinds of a good angle throughout his entire class, even with the troubles and problems he has faced.”

His dad and mom have been incredible advocates and caregivers, and there is no question the adore and aid Aaron receives at house has contributed to his success, Dr. Loret De Mola stated.

“Despite all that he has long gone by means of, he carries on to usually imagine of some others very first,” she said. “He is a genuinely excellent individual.”

And a single point is specific: Aaron’s imaginative gears hardly ever stop turning. He always appears to have his arms on a new project—in artwork or in vehicles.

He’s at this time doing work to land a career as a car or truck detailer, so he can clean up and element cars.

It won’t be just a position to him, either. It is anything he’s searching ahead to.

When he will get older, he’s pondering he’ll in all probability do the job on autos.

“It operates in the family members,” he said. “And I think it would be a nice task for me.”