In the fall of 2009, the Flaa family had recently arrived at home to the Twin Cities after spending several years in South Dakota and Ohio. We were happy to be closer to family and adjusting to new schools, sports and other activities. Our kids Anders and Hannah, proved to be very good at making new friends and fitting in. Our biggest worries were work, winter approaching and an occasional 3 1/2 hour drive to Fargo to visit grandparents and cousins. Normal family stuff.
Anders, who was 12 at the time, had a history of sinus issues and had tubes put into his ears when he was younger. When he started getting headaches around the first part of December 2009, it wasn’t unusual and we took him to see his pediatrician who prescribed antibiotics. After a week, when the headaches persisted, the doctor ordered an MRI. We clearly remember sitting in the waiting room that day, having a cordless phone handed to us, and being told by our pediatrician that our boy had a brain tumor. 4 days later Anders was at the University of Minnesota Hospital undergoing brain surgery to remove the tumor, which tests soon showed it was cancerous. After surgery, Anders underwent radiation and oral chemotherapy in the spring of 2010, followed by a very successful summer and fall of baseball. The disease reappeared in October 2010 and since then, Anders has received monthly infusions of chemotherapy, which required a 4 day hospital stay and two days in surgery to place the drugs in the precise part of the brain where they can attack the cancer. This treatment known as blood-brain barrier disruption has taken a toll on Anders physically, so we are happy to be down to our final two treatments over the next couple of months. The next step is yet to be determined, but his doctors are hopeful and optimistic about several options.
Anders has always been the best possible son parents could ask for, a caring and patient big brother, a supportive, encouraging teammate on the field and court, the pride and joy of his Grandparents, our unanswered question to this day is “Why Anders”? We’ve been blessed in so many ways throughout the process. He was diagnosed after we moved closer to home and we have a world-class team of doctors who are on the leading edge of research finding new ways to beat this disease – but we still have to ask, why Anders – why anybody?
We believe in, and love Jesus, we have had amazing support from our family, friends and neighbors. Anders has been a rock and an example of strength in the face of this adversity. All of these things give us hope and strength to fight every day to beat this and learn.