Realizing Futures


Ian Engdahl
Pediatric Melanoma

In the spring of 2005 I was diagnosed with pediatric Melanoma. This had no meaning to me, I had absolutely no idea that I had cancer, or could possibly die. I was only four years old. Even though I had only been on this planet for four years, I was still pondering doctors, as I had a type of cancer that was typical in adults over forty. The disease itself was supposed to take ten years to develop, but however a four year old had it. The dermatologist accused my parents of being hysterical and that no four year old could have it. He then looked on the top of my head, which was the mole’s location. He then very quickly apologized and told them something that he had never done in his career, look up a rare disease called Pediatric Melanoma. The search for a cure had begun. I then found myself in multiple blood labs, having blood drawn. I began to question where we were going every time we got into the car. At some points I had to have my blood drawn several times a week. It is still unknown what caused this disease. However, there was still hope to be found in Dr. Jakowatz who was my lead doctor at the University California of Irvine. Dr. J believed that I did not need chemotherapy, and that he would be able to surgically remove it. He was correct, and on May 15, 2005 I had No evidence of disease (NED). I will never be considered to be in remission. However, the cancer left me with a metabolic condition, in which when ever I get a virus, my ketones drop so low that I should go into a coma. However because I am me my body reacts differently, I begin to barf vile uncontrollably. The only way to stop this was to be hospitalized and given Zofran. In order to give me that, they had to give me an I.V. To this day¬† I still cannot stand the smell of rubbing alcohol, which they had to wipe sterilize the I.V. I continued to leave doctors in a state of bewilderment. The testing continued, and the larger my fear of needles. It is still unclear of what causes these conditions. There is no research for this disease, but more and more kids are getting it.

In the summer of 2012 we found PCRF though Gavin Rowe, who himself is still in the battle. We realized that PCRF was not just another charity, but the only one that truly fights the battle against cancer everyday.

I am now 15, and a Freshman at Dana Hills High School, whom I run track for. I am also a HUGE Angels fan, and love the game of Baseball. I still struggle with my metabolism, but I still live my life to the fullest everyday.

Ian Engdahl

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When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change. – Annette Funicello