From the moment Destiny discovered she was pregnant, she says that there were concerns about the viability of her second child. After a misdiagnosis of a molar pregnancy, where it is feared the placenta isn’t forming normally, she went on to experience early contractions, pre-eclampsia and long weeks of bed rest. On September 12th, 2021, after nine long and worrisome months, a very healthy baby Atreus was born! Destiny and her husband Pablo were thrilled to bring Atreus home to his big brother and to start their new life together.
During the first few months, Atreus was a very happy and healthy infant. However, just three months after Atreus’ birth, Destiny’s worries returned. It all started after her older son took a photo of his little brother. In the photo, they noticed what seemed to be a white reflection, or glow. Throughout the week, they noticed this glow time and again. Concerned, Destiny searched the internet for answers. Here she learned that this “cat’s eye” reflection could be an indication of Retinoblastoma, cancer of the eye.
Destiny immediately brought Atreus to have an exam with his pediatrician. At first, the pediatrician did not notice anything abnormal. However, once Destiny explained what she had been noticing, the doctor did a thorough red eye reflex exam and discovered a mass in Atreus’ eye. The pediatrician was very concerned and told Destiny to expect a call from Children’s Hospital – Colorado, located in Aurora. Just fifteen minutes after leaving the exam room, the hospital called and requested they bring Atreus in that week.
Once at Children’s, the family met Dr. Robert Enzenauer, a pediatric ophthalmologist. Dr. Enzenauer, performed a thorough eye exam. Soon after, they were told that Atreus did in fact have retinoblastoma (RB). The cancer was located in both of his eyes and the retina in his left eye was completely detached. Destiny felt stunned. It all unfolded so quickly.
They soon met with retinal specialist, Dr. Scott Oliver, and his team at Children’s. This amazing team confirmed the RB diagnosis and developed a treatment plan to attack Atreus’ cancer. The very next day, a port was placed and Atreus began a regimen of systemic chemotherapy.
After six months of chemotherapy, laser therapy and cryotherapy, the tumors became inactive. The medical team decided Atreus could take a break from treatment. However, just one month later, hundreds of new tumors had developed in his left eye. His right eye remained stable. Destiny and her husband were given the option to enucleate Atreus’ left eye or to begin intra arterial chemotherapy (IAC), where the medicine directly targets the tumor of concern. After much deliberation, they decided to try IAC.
In November of 2022, after four rounds of IAC, Destiny was given fantastic news. All tumors in both of his eyes were again inactive. With this amazing stability, the doctors decided to take a break from chemotherapy for six weeks, instead of four – giving the family time to enjoy the holidays. However, just this month it was discovered the Atreus’ left eye has three new active tumors. They were immediately lasered and treated with cryotherapy, Atreus will be checked again early next month to see how they respond and to develop a new plan.
Throughout everything, little Atreus (now 17 months old) has been a warrior! He remains happy and is full of energy. He loves to dance and sing along to his favorite artist – Ed Sheeran. He absolutely loves playing with his big brother. Atreus is very bright, not only learning english, but Spanish and sign language as well!
Destiny is very grateful that she noticed and acted when she first discovered Atreus’ Glow. She knows all too well how precious every moment is between discovery and diagnosis. She is determined to share Atreus’ journey in the hopes of reaching another family who may not have discovered their own Glow and help lead them to earlier diagnosis and treatment.
We at KTG are so very grateful that this family is willing to share with us and are rooting for this little warrior to cross the “cancer free” line very soon!