Austin Darker

Austin is a 5 year old little boy whom started getting sick vomiting daily starting in January 2022. After about two weeks, his parents finally called his pediatrician, and unfortunately they could only get him in to be seen for “sick visits”. These visit were strictly only to be tested for Covid-19, Strep, and Flu. Austin’s covid test came back positive, BUT he had just had covid around Christmas 2021(you can test positive for up to 90 days). After not being able to get any kind of help from the pediatrician his parents took him to the ER department. After going to the ER, they finally were able to get him an appointment with a pediatric GI specialist. Upon his first appointment with the GI specialist, he ended up with a stomach virus(norovirus). The GI specialist ordered a barium swallow study. This did show Austin had acid reflux. The GI specialist also had a neurologist, and optometrist come to check him out. The optometrist checked for swelling behind the optic nerve, which he didnt have, and neurologist ruled out the need for a CT even though the GI specialist wanted him to have one. He was discharged and sent home with medication for the acid reflux. He was perfectly fine for about 2 weeks, and after that he started to get sick in the mornings daily, again. Austin ended up back in the ER department, this time he was admitted once again, to receive a NGTUBE cleanout for severe constipation(due to the Zofran). After a few days of being admitted into the hospital, he came home once again with the hope he would start feeling better.  After about 2 weeks of being home he started with little mild headaches that would get worse with excitement and activity. This prompted his parents once again to make a trip to the ER department. This time they took Austin for a xray of his belly(to make sure there was no constipation). The doctors were ready to send him home, and before they could Austin had 2 episodes of double vision! This lead the ER doctor to finally get him a CT.  Finally there was an answer, and not the one most parents want. They found a golf ball size mass in Austin’s cerebellum. The next day Austin and his dad were flown from Johnson City, TN to Memphis, TN to Lebonheur Children’s Hospital to await surgery. Austin had a full resection of the tumor March 21, 2022, but it had spread to other parts of his brain, spine, and CSF. Austin has since been treated at St Jude’s in Memphis,TN where they had learned he has HIGH RISK GROUP 3 MEDULLOBLASTOMA (WITH myc-amplification). He has had 6 weeks of proton radiation with a daily low dose chemotherapy. His next phase of his treatment starts July 18, 2022 as he starts his 1st cycle of chemotherapy.

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