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Students show support for classmate

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent
 

  A broken foot may have been the luckiest thing to ever happen to Dylan McCabe.

Dylan McCabe, center, with several of his classmates who shaved their heads in support of his cancer treatment.        Photo by Monroe Roark

  The Creekside Christian Academy sixth-grader got the injury Dec. 20, at the onset of Christmas break, when a large picture fell from a wall and landed directly on his left foot. When his cast was removed more than month later, Tammy McCabe wondered why her son’s right leg was so swollen.

  “We thought at first it was because he was on crutches and his right leg was doing all the work with his left foot being broken,” she said.

  They tried massages, long walks and heating pads. Nothing worked. Dylan’s right leg was 15 inches in circumference; the left leg only 10 inches.

  Another trip to the orthopedist took place Feb. 20, and an X-ray led to a trip to Scottish Rite for an MRI and a bone biopsy. These procedures revealed what was wrong.

  Dylan was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – bone cancer – in his right leg. A tumor measuring about 14 inches in length was found stretching from just below his hipbone to his knee.

  “The doctors said it had probably been growing for six months,” said Tammy McCabe. “Dylan never complained about any pain, though. It was a blessing that he broke his foot, because we wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

  Dylan has begun chemotherapy in an attempt to shrink the tumor, and if that is successful surgery could be an option to remove it. The medical team has also informed the family that he is a candidate for a total femur replacement, in which a metal piece would be implanted to replace the bone and provide an alternative to amputation.

  Even after surgery, Dylan will still face 20 weeks of chemo, his mother said.

  He spent three days in the hospital recently because of a high fever, and he has not returned to school at Creekside since winter break. A port was installed for feeding because of his recent weight loss and the determination that all of the nutrition in his body from food was going to feed the tumor.

  As expected, Dylan’s hair has begun to fall out and he got a buzz cut at home to compensate for it. He is nearly bald now, but he is not alone in that regard.

  The school lunchroom was converted to a makeshift barbershop, as a number of his classmates got together Friday at the school and received their own super-short haircuts to show support for their friend. Dylan was able to come to the campus for a few minutes and share in the festivities, posing for photos with many of his classmates who sported their new ‘dos.

 

 

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