Brody Etelamaki

Brody Etelamaki

Our son, Brody was diagnosed with a brain tumor on April 21, 2013. We were air lifted to Marshfield, WI that same night. On April 22, he underwent emergency surgery. We were told he was dying as they took him in and we were uncertain if he would survive surgery. The surgery lasted over 6 hours. Shortly after Brody came out of surgery, on April 24 doctors told us the tumor was malignant. Our son, indeed, had cancer. We eventually were air lifted to MD Anderson in Houston, TX as our center of choice for treatment. He underwent a second brain surgery to remove the rest of the tumor on May 15th, 2013. A few weeks later Brody had hydrocephalus and had to have a shunt inserted into his brain and head. A week later he experienced complications and had to have a second shunt put in. Unfortunately he continued to experience complications and a week after that he had to have shunt revision as we discovered the second shunt was malfunctioning. Since we still had not started radiation or chemotherapy, we got a follow up MRI and discovered that Brody had disease progression in other locations of his brain but not in the original tumor site. Radiation started on June 24th and ended on July 15th.

Brody ended up back in surgery on August 21 for yet another shunt revision! Less than a week later we were admitted again for a possible shunt malfunction, but we avoided surgery. We then transferred maintenance chemotherapy over to University of Michigan in September. It seemed as if things were going well until mid-December when the tumors were no longer responding to treatment. We discovered the tumor on his cerebellum had increased in size and has now affected his speech and balance. Brody had been doing physical therapy, but we have decided to put physical therapy on hold for the time being. Our sole focus and concentration switched to focus on shrinking the tumors.

Brody went into surgery again on February 7, to replace his shunts. Brody, who inspired hundreds to walk in his honor wearing “Brody Strong” T-shirts, died on April 15, 2014, a year after his diagnosis.