EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A Menomonie boy has been recovering after surgery to remove a brain tumor took away his movement and speech.
It's been a long road for Isaiah Klem and his family from Menomonie. Last fall, headaches led to an M.R.I. that found a rare malignant brain tumor.
“In my 20 years, I've seen several different brain tumors, but not that specific diagnosis,” Mayo Clinic Health System Pediatric Nurse Coordinator Lisa Moelter said.
The first step was surgery to remove the medulloblastoma tumor in the cerebellum, but the procedure impacted his brain.
“He couldn't really use his right leg or right arm, he couldn't talk, he didn't see well for a while,” Isaiah’s dad, John Klem said.
Isaiah then stayed in Florida for 30 radiation treatments over eight weeks to increase his chances of keeping the cancer cells from returning,” John said.
John Klem said his family didn't know when or if, Isaiah would walk and talk again, but slowly he's gained almost everything back.
“He's just making leaps and bounds every time I see him and he's just a phenomenal kid,” Moelter said.
After taking long trips to Rochester for chemotherapy, the Mayo Clinic referred Isaiah to Eau Claire, bringing convenience and time back to the Klem family.
“It's a lot easier than going to Rochester,” Isaiah said.
Now in his second round of treatment, with his tenth birthday coming up, Isaiah said he is hoping to soon: “Run and play everything that my friends play.” “I like to be really active. It's fun to play soccer.”
“He's gonna go back to school and enjoy his friends, instead of being in a hospital or clinic room. There's nothing better than that,” Moelter said.
According to the Saint Jude Children's Hospital, about 500 kids are diagnosed with the type of brain tumor in the U.S. each year.