Welcome to the first posting on our blog. With the recent turn of events, it’s important for us to share our experiences with family and friends.
As many of you know, our youngest child, six-year-old Tyler, (PRONOUNCED… Ty Ty, Ty, Tyler Bug, Turkey, Turkey-Bird, Turks and Rascal) was recently diagnosed with bone cancer, called Osteosarcoma. This type of cancer affects about 400 pre-teen and adolescents in the US each year.
Tyler started to complain about his arm hurting a week or so after New Years. We didn’t think much of it until one night he showed Sarah and I how difficult it was to lift his arm. We decided to get him checked, but the very next morning (January 21st) he slipped on the ice at school and broke his arm just below the shoulder. Tyler’s kindergarten teacher who witnessed him slip said it was the most unnatural fall she’d seen. How can a boy moving forward lose both feet from underneath him, but still manages to fall squarely on his right shoulder? Truth is, the arm break was an enormous blessing, because it was the catalyst that lead to a swift prognosis. The next two weeks were full of X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, blood tests, surgeries, and biopsies, until ultimately the dreaded news of cancer came Friday, January 29th.
Words can’t begin describe the range of emotions we’ve felt this past month or so. Suddenly, everything we’ve learned, been taught or felt about our earthly mortal journey has become ever so real and vivid. Love that brings unspeakable joy, can equally cast a shadow of unimaginable pain and sadness. We hope and pray with all our hearts that our faith will triumph our fears.
Tyler started Chemotherapy on February 5th. This first round was a 48-hour cocktail infusion of sorts, including Doxorubicin, Cisplatin and a plethora of anti nausea medicines. Suffice to say we weren’t prepared for this. The nausea, and side affects of the anti-nausea medicine created powerful mood swings. He was asking questions like: What’s wrong with me? Why are they taking my blood? Other comments like: I wanna go home, or, I just wanna play with my friends, or, Grandma, don’t leave! This was about as much as we could take. The comfort and assurance came from the doctors, nurses and technicians were more than accommodating. They explained in great detail the procedures, thus calming our nerves a bit. I really don’t know what we would have done without their support. They say it gets easier, we pray they’re right.
The Doxorubicin and Cisplatin attack cancer cells while at the same time inhibit new platelets, and red and white blood cell from growing. This means Tyler will be more prone to sickness, infection and bruising while working through this treatment. Another expected side-affect is hair loss, which happened last week. His blood count rebounded after two weeks, so he was able to return to school for a few days. His teachers and classmates were most supportive. Going to schools really lifts Tyler’s spirits. Throughout the treatment there will be six or so regiments of Doxorubicin and Cisplatin six or seven weeks apart.
We’re actually at the hospital today (February 27th) finishing up the second round of chemotherapy. This round is a four-hour Methotrexate infusion, then a four day wait for the drug to do its thing and wear off. Tyler wasn’t as sick with this treatment. He was up and eating the second day. In fact he was quite pleasant the last two days, just a little bit bored. Methotrexate aggressively attacks cancer cells while at the same time thins the mucus lining in the GI tract. Tyler will be prone to mouth sores. We pray the side affects will be mild and won’t cause too much discomfort.
It’s too early to know definitively, but if all goes well Tyler will have an operation in May. The will remove the cancerous area and reconstruct his upper arm using his clavicle. We don’t fully understand how that’s going to work, but the Doctor says if existing bones are used, he stands a good chance at having acceptable arm motion.
Nathan (Nate) is our oldest. He's a 13 year old 8th grader. Zachary (Zach) is our second child. He's a 10 year old 5th grader. Samantha (Sammy) is our only daughter. She is in 4th grade and is 9 years old. Tyler (Ty Ty) is our youngest. He's a big 6 year old Kindergardener, that could easily pass for a second-grader.