Kyle Quincey’s 1-year-old son, Axl, smiling again after brain surgery
Axl Quincey has a wonderful smile, and when it returned weeks after undergoing brain surgery in Philadelphia last month, the one-year-old’s parents felt like they could believe again.
Kyle and Rachel Quincey recently crossed a memorable hurdle in their long quest to see their boy overcome brain cancer.
“The surgeon got to meet Axl before the surgery and Axl was dancing and smiling,” Rachel said from Philadelphia, inside the borrowed home of Flyers goalie Brian Elliott. “After surgery, Dr. Storm said, ‘I can’t wait to see that dancing, smiling boy again.’ So when Axl finally smiled it was such a relief because you’re just one step closer to recovery, and we got that happy, dancing, smiling boy back.”
Kyle Quincey, the former Avalanche defenseman who settled in Colorado and is building a home in Cherry Hills, said the smile was wonderful for so many reasons, including one very important one: Doctors weren’t sure Axl would have normal control of his face.
“He could do it still,” the father said.
Axl remained at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for 16 days after his 22 1/2-hour surgery on June 9. The family, including 2-year-old brother, Stone, have settled in nicely at Elliott’s home. The goalie, who is married with two young sons, is in Philadelphia’s training and staying with teammate Kevin Hayes. Elliott’s wife and boys are in Madison, Wis., where the couple met while Brian was attending the University of Wisconsin.
“Brian has two boys and to see Stone and Axl kind of use the house like his kids use it, I think he was happy to see that we were enjoying it as much he and his family did when they were here,” Rachel said.
Axl is far from out of the woods in his battle with brain cancer. He has begun radiation treatment five times per week, and the latest MRI detected what could be troubling tissue.
“We were finally able to come home and he thrived as soon as we did. He was around his brother in a more normal setting and out of the sterile environment of the hospital,” Rachel said. “The surgery went very well. It was very successful. His most recent MRI does show what looks to be a possible residual tumor, but it’s hard to tell if it’s an actual tumor or some other type of tissue. We were always planning on doing the radiation treatment, so that’s what we’re in right now. It’s five days a week for six weeks. We go in every morning, Monday through Friday.”
Axl can’t consume food through his mouth because his right vocal cord was paralyzed from his first surgery April 2 in Colorado, so he has a feeding tube attached to his stomach. The vocal cord may or may not return to normal, Rachel said, and many other problems could arise.
Axl is scheduled to have an MRI every three months until he’s 3, every six months until he’s 5 and every year until he’s 26, Kyle said.
But Rachel said Dr. Jay Storm at CHOP is optimistic he removed all or most of the tumor that was attached to Axl’s brain stem.
“He even said to me, ‘I’m so happy to see Axl awake and lively,’ Rachel said of Dr. Storm. “He said it was such a delicate dance to slowly remove the tumor and not affect the nerve.”
Kyle is traveling to Colorado this weekend to oversee the demolition of the family’s scraped dream home off Quincey Avenue in Cherry Hills. The couple bought the old home in 2016 when Kyle was playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Kyle was hoping to return to Colorado late this month to give back to Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation by playing with many other former Avs at Dawg Bowl X charity tournament in Littleton.
“I was really hoping it would work out but we have the house we’re dealing with and (the Dawg Bowl) didn’t line up,” Kyle said.
“We need him here,” Rachel said.
Haley Stastny, wife of former Avs center Paul Stastny, has worked with the Quiniceys on a campaign to raise money for childhood cancer, with all proceeds given to organizations chosen by the Quinceys. Items can be purchased online at #TeamAx and Instagram.
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