Despite more than a month of treatments between Belgium and Germany to eliminate anapestic ependymoma Grade III brain cancer, Long Valley’s Glenn Lightner faced a setback when he returned to the United States and an MRI showed three more tumors on his brain.
“When we came back (from Europe) he was playing basketball,” Glenn’s dad, Larry Lightner, said. “He showed no symptoms at all and felt fine.”
The 13-year-old will return to Germany on Saturday, Aug. 4 for additional treatment, and take a quick trip to Belgium just after for a booster shot, Larry Lightner said. During that trip, the teen will receive chemotherapy directly into his brain.
The family spent three and-a-half months researching before deciding to spend the spring in Europe, Lightner said, and won’t concede hope in the process just yet.
“Just because (the tumors) came back doesn’t mean this won’t work,” Lightner said. “What if we go back and this next treatment is the one that works? I’m not going to take the chance and miss out on that.”
Glenn Lightner is undergoing an MRI every two weeks to keep up on what’s happening in his brain, his father said. He’ll receive one in Germany before he returns home.
(Laser) Light of Hope
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital neurosurgeon Shabbar Danish began using laser technology to remove tumors more than a year ago.
Danish read an article in the Star-Ledger newspaper about a family from Long Valley seeking alternative treatments to help cure their son’s cancer, and reached out right away.
“(Danish) called me right after that article came out,” Larry Lightner said. “He asked if I had ever heard about the knifeless surgery, which I hadn’t, and we kind of went from there.”
The conversation culminated in a meeting on Friday, July 20, when Danish operated on Lightner with his laser surgery. The treatment burned out one tumor, as designed, and did not harm any tissue around the mass, Lightner said. The surgery only made a hole the size of a pen tip in Glenn Lightner’s head, his father said.
If necessary, the Lightners will meet up with Danish again once they return from Europe.
“Glenn’s really laid back and calm,” Larry Lightner said about how his son his handling the situation. “It’s become more of an annoyance than anything for him. He kind of just deals with it and asks, ‘When’s the next time I have to do this?’
“For me, it’s become a bit angering,” Lightner said. “But I’m just re-tightening my boxing gloves and preparing for the next part.”