Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ty Ty..

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.


  1. Hola Kirk y familia
    Les escribo en español porque mi inglés no es muy bueno. Please, traducile Kirk esto a tu familia.
    Yo no lo ando contando muy seguido porque la palabra cáncer genera todo tipo de reacciones. Por supuesto que es una enfermedad de cuidado, pero no tiene porqué ser el fin.
    Hace diez años me operaron de cáncer. Me lo extirparon y luego me dieron radiación.
    Hoy estoy bien y una vez al año me tengo que controlar. El cáncer puede vencerse.
    Querido Kirk, mucha fuerza y a no bajar los brazos.
    Manuel Horacio Castrillon
    (desde la Argentina)

  2. Kirk,

    My thoughts and prayers are with Ty and your family.

    Patrick Kneeland

  3. Hi Kirk,

    Pulling and praying hard for Tyler and your family, and for the absolute least amount of bad side effects and best outcome possible.

    Brad Pack

  4. Ty, Kirk, Sarah and family,
    We keep you in our prayers every day, praying for moments of peace and joy, and for healing in every way.
    Wake Forest Baptist Men's Bible Study Group

  5. Kirk - we'll keep Tyler and your family in our prayers as well. Hugs to all of you!

    Carrie Cox

  6. Kirk and Family,
    Thank you so much for sharing your blog! I have been thinking about you! Wishing you and your family the best! What a cute boy! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you!
    Kirsten Ruden

  7. Hi; we don't know each other, but my little girl goes to Ty's school, and she's friends with one of your relatives, Halie Anderson. Kim told me about Ty and pointed me to your blog. My heart and prayers are with you. Our youngest boy made it through cancer last spring and summer, and although our experience was very different (brain surgery and radiation, no chemo), just know that there are people who know what it feels like to get a scary diagnosis, and to dig deep and find strength you didn't know you had. I hope you feel strength from the prayers of those around you, and that you know that the Lord is watchful of his little ones and so, so willing to bless them.

  8. Tyler, Kirk, all,

    Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers every day. Ty you are doing a magnificent job in helping take care of yourself - you're so brave and strong! I'm so impressed! Blessings to you all. Teri