Healthy Living: Cancer recovery
Phillip Massey is not like most kids. He had a tumor at the base of his skull and since having it removed under surgery, he has endured weeks of radiation, chemo, and recovery. YNN's Casey Bortnick reports
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Most kids would be happy to miss a few weeks school. Phillip Massey is not like most kids.
"The more stuff I missed the more that would pile up. I need to keep on going,” said Phillip.
For Phillip, starting a new calendar year at the Charles Finney School is fun when compared to the way he spent his summer vacation.
"Basically dealing with Doctors and hospitals and radiation machines,” said Phillip.
Last June, Phillip started having headaches that were followed by double vision.
"I thought that there might be something wrong with my head because that pain from the headache was unusual,” said Phillip.
Turns out Phillip was right.
"Puff out your cheeks,” said Dr. Bredlau.
Dr. Amy-lee Bredlau is Phillip’s oncologist.
"He had a tumor at the very base of his skull,” said Dr. Bredlau.
This cancerous mass was growing in an area of the brain that controls memory and balance. Although it was caught early, removing it would be tricky.
Dr. Bredlau said, “The surgeries are very, very long. They usually last between 7 and 11 hours."
Neurosurgeons were able to remove the tumor and preserve most of the healthy tissue surrounding it. For Phillip the long road to recovery was just beginning.
"He had radiation everyday for about six weeks and chemo-therapy once a week for six weeks,” said Dr. Bredlau.
Radiation caused Phillip to lose weight, and left sores on his skin. Then there's the chemo and the fatigue and common side effects that come with it.
"I call it my artificial hair,” said Phillip.
Phillip wears a hat to cover his hair loss and two small scars. He'll continue his treatment for five more months.
"The hardest parts are behind me and I'll I need to do is just recover,” said Phillip.
It's Philip’s will to push forward; to get better.
"I've never heard him say why me?" said Phillip’s father, Phillip Sr.
That's helped his family believe there are brighter days ahead.
“He's always been positive, proof positive. And it just puts a smile on my face and I know it does the same for his mom,” said Phillip Sr.
And whether it's at home with his two brothers. Or at school with his friends.
"You just need to try to get through it a day at a time,” said Phillip.
Phillips learned it's important to set a good example.
"Everyone I meet who knows about it says I'm so tough and I really didn't understand at first why they were saying I'm tough I'm like I don't get it,” said Phillip.
“Do you get it now?” asked Casey.
“Yes,” said Phillip.