There aren’t many eleven-year-old boys who love to watch cooking shows and help mom when she cooks. Fewer still could recognize celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. But Adeshino (Kaleb) isn’t your typical boy, and after what he’s been through, he can watch whatever he would like.
At the tender age of five, Kaleb began experiencing back pain. His mother, Adeyinka, remembers taking him to the doctor several times over the next year.
“The pain wasn’t normal, and the doctor found trace amounts of blood in his urine a few times,” she said. “He wasn’t worried, though. He just thought Kaleb had a urinary tract infection and treated him with antibiotics.”
But as Kaleb got older, his symptoms persisted until finally Adeyinka took Kaleb to the emergency room where an ultrasound was performed. Before she got home, she received a call telling her to turn around and come back to the hospital. It was there doctors told her that seven-year-old Kaleb had cancer.
Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (DSRCT) is an aggressive and rare cancer which primarily occurs as a mass in the abdomen. Kaleb’s tumor was attached to one of his kidneys. The first step was to remove the tumor and along with it, his kidney. The surgery was followed by a year of chemotherapy which caused a dramatic transformation in Kaleb.
“It took a long time to figure out how to keep him eating. He was so sick that his weight got below fifty pounds,” Adeyinka explained. “One scary night, he was barely responsive and couldn’t walk, so I took him to the clinic. I had to carry him to the car, and I had to wheel him into the hospital in a wagon. In the room, they gave him fluids and revived him. I thought I was going to lose him.”
Once he began eating and gaining weight, Kaleb finished chemo and moved on to radiation until his treatment for DSRCT was finished. But cancer wasn’t through with him yet. Doctors had warned Adeyinka there was a five percent chance he could get leukemia from his original treatment. Then, a follow-up scan revealed something on his lung. Although the likelihood of leukemia was slim, Adeyinka’s worst fears came true. Adeyinka had Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), an aggressive form of leukemia, possibly a result of the chemo and radiation administered to save his life. Unfortunately, secondary cancers are not uncommon side effects of today’s treatments for childhood cancer.
Kaleb started treatment for AML in June of 2016 and had a bone marrow transplant in September. Once again, he lost weight and was forced to deal with mouth sores and other painful side effects. But he quickly went in to remission and now only has to have his blood levels monitored.
“He has good days and bad days,” his mother said. “He has had some digestive issues and leg pain that we are dealing with. I wish our story was different, but these are the cards we were dealt.”
Kaleb missed two years of school due to his treatment. But with a little hard work he will move to fifth grade next year. He enjoys video games, The Walking Dead, Ellen, and shows about criminal investigations. Kaleb is active, but he has to be cautious because of everything his body has been through. Of course, that doesn’t keep him from whipping up a mean stack of blueberry pancakes. And he isn’t afraid of Gordon Ramsay, either. After all, he beat cancer twice and has been cooking along ever since.