Only 500 cases of Wilms’ tumor—which is cancer of the kidneys—are diagnosed each year in children in America. One of those cases, Montgomery resident Taylor Peel, age 9, never expected to be included on that roster.For Taylor, the journey to Texas Children’s Hospital and its Cancer Center began with an innocent trip to Lake Conroe over Memorial Day. When he began to experience severe pain in his left side, Taylor’s mother brought him to a local doctor, who performed an ultrasound and discovered a mass on the child’s left kidney.
(2011) – “At that point we never thought it was cancer,” Frances Peel said. “We believed the mass could be so many different things.”
A visit to Texas Children’s Hospital the next day confirmed their worst fears. After spending a night in the emergency room there, the Peels learned early the next morning that Taylor’s mass was indeed cancerous.
“Even though it’s rare, this tumor is the most common type of kidney cancer in kids,” Taylor’s father Chris said. “The doctor told us that Taylor’s kidney had swollen to the size of a large cantaloupe.”
Two days later, a surgeon at Texas Children’s removed Taylor’s left kidney. That was followed by six days of radiation, and a prescription for 25 weeks of chemotherapy, which Taylor is undergoing.
“The thing I like about Texas Children’s is that they have Child Life people who help kids get through this,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t really scared, because they were there.”
Child Life specialists worked with Taylor and his family throughout the ordeal, providing activities for Taylor and his younger brother. While today Taylor’s mass is gone and he’s expected to resume his former life, those specialists provided the respite he and his family needed during a very stressful time.
“I can’t say enough good things about the staff at Texas Children’s,” Chris said. “They took the time to answer our questions, and it never felt like an institution there.”
According to Frances, Taylor has participated in numerous research studies while a patient, helping to pave the way for more innovations in the way doctors treat this particular cancer.
“We forget that we have one of the best children’s hospitals right here,” Frances said. “We’re lucky to live so close to it.”
Taylor currently has to be isolated while he undergoes chemotherapy, but he’s looking forward to the day he can hunt and fish with his family again.
“I just like being outside,” Taylor said, sounding like a typical 9-year-old boy. “And, I’m a pretty great fisherman.”