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Rare cancer strikes Flathead girl

KALISPELL – This is the worst nightmare of a parent.

Tina Tobiason and her husband Nicholas Tobiason noticed strange bruises on the body of their four-year-old daughter Kensley in May.

"It was not regular bruising, it was spread all over his body and when I felt the bruises, they had small cuts. And it was just very weird, "Tina said.

Thinking it may have been normal growing pains, or children playing school at school, Tina called Kensley's teacher to ask if the children were restless during the day.

When Kensley's teacher said no, Tina and Nick took Kensley to the doctor. After a series of tests, they received a diagnosis they never thought they had heard in a million years.

"Looking at the test results of the day, they came to the same conclusion: they did not say we did not necessarily want to alarm you, but we think we're fighting cancer," Nicholas said. .

Kensley was diagnosed with Chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer rarely seen in children.

Young cancer patient from Kalispell
Kensley has been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a cancer rarely seen in children. (Photo by MTN News)

MTN Nerws spoke with Dr. Carrie LaBorde of the Kalispell Regional Medical Center, who said that CML only occurs in 3% of pediatric cancers and that there are fewer than 500 cases in the world. country per year.

She says that CML differs from other cancers in the genetic marker on the patient's white blood cells.

"And they said chronic myeloid leukemia and I was like wow, my heart sank, how could this happen to us?" Tina remembered.

To the shocking news, Kensley and Tina flew to Colorado for further tests, leaving Tobiason's two other children home.

"Now I have to be Mr. Mom all at once. It was phone calls saying you knew it was what was going on in the family, you could not go to work, you know we still have things to do and we still have to bring our oldest at school and take care of our life of a year and a half. – old, said Nicholas.

Fortunately, Kensley Cancer can be treated locally in Kalispell with an oral pill. Tina dissolves Kensley's medications in apple juice, which facilitates her ingestion.

Kensley responds well to treatment with a number of white blood cells returning to normal.

Tina said that when Kensley was diagnosed for the first time, her white blood cell count was close to 500,000, with a normal amount hovering around 12,000. The current number of white blood cells in Kensley's cells is about 9,000.

This is not yet the end of the road for Kensley because rare pediatric cancer does not have a clear long-term treatment plan.

Dr. LaBorde told MTN News that studies were underway across the country to determine the duration of this oral treatment and to determine if Kensley could possibly stop taking his medications.

Doctor's will continue to monitor Kensley's health, but for now, she is on the road to remission.

GoFundMe campaign was set up to offset some of Tobiason's costs while Kensley continues his treatment.

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