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May 15, 2008 will be a day that we will never forget. This is the day that we found out that our son, Skyler, had a brain tumor. Skyler was an energetic kindergarten student that never had any health issues. In a matter of 2-3 weeks he would be fighting for his life. Skyler was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor called a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
Our journey started out at a couple of different hospitals trying to come up with a game plan of how to beat this tumor. Typical treatment for this tumor is 6 weeks of radiation and chemo. Statistics show that this tumor has a 90% chance to grow back within 9-12 months after radiation. We know that each child is different and we did not see why Skyler could not be part of that other 10%. This is when were lead to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. As soon as we walked in the doors we knew we were in the right place. At St Jude we were given and continue to receive such a sense of hope. Their game plan was similar. We were to have 6 weeks of radiation and take a daily oral chemo. We would soon find out that the next 6 weeks would be the hardest 6 weeks of our lives. We would also find out that St Jude is full of the most amazing and caring Doctors and nurses in the world. We were treated like family.
As Skyler started his radiation treatments, the tumor reacted and started to basically shut his body down. He fought hard and never gave up. He took a road that not many take with this tumor. Our 6 year old son could not walk, talk, or drink. Skyler would end up in a wheel chair whereas three short weeks earlier he was out on the soccer field running around. After three long and hard weeks of treatments and being in ICU, not knowing what the next minute held, we were finally released to be outpatient to finish our treatment plan. At St Jude, Skyler had to work hard to get back to where he once was. We are very thankful for everybody that pushed him to the limits to regain his strength. He would do occupational, speech, and physical therapy day in and day out. He slowly progressed each and every day. We were witnessing a miracle in progress.
We came home at the end of July 2008. Skyler was still in his wheelchair, but he was determined to get out of it before school started in just a short few weeks. And he started 1st grade without the wheelchair! Skyler’s faith, strength and determination are what have helped him get to where he is at today. We know we were lead to St Jude to care for our son. Without St Jude and all of the amazing people there, I’m not sure where we would be today. We are very grateful to be part of the St Jude family. That is what we are, we are all a family. We made several friends with different families from across the nation. We are all on level ground going through the same thing. Some more challenging than others, but we are all there for each other.
Skyler is now 8 years old and in 3rd grade. We have an awesome support team of family and friends that have helped us get through. We have learned to live one day at a time and to lean on the Lord for guidance and strength. We believe that the power of prayer is an amazing thing and so are the people at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Just another reason to support St. Jude and the miracles they create each and every day!