Pray for Grant

January 5 2012

Posted by Melanie McTaggart on Thursday, January 5, 2012
David here.    Grant completed his last scheduled  in-clinic chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday.  He will continue to take oral chemo for about 4 more weeks.   He will undergo a diagnostic spinal tap and bone marrow biopsy at that point.  After that, he will get his blood checked every 4 weeks(unless we want it done more frequently) and have his bone marrow and spinal fluid checked about every 3 months.   The doctors don't really use the term "cured," but they say  that if he reaches the 5 year from diagnosis milestone and is still in remission, then it would be very surprising if he relapsed.  That means we have at least 28 months(June 1 2014) before we can really start to feel comfortable about his long term condition.  But this is still a milestone for us. 

Melanie and I have such mixed emotions at this stage.  On the one hand we feel like celebrating; on the other hand we are scared to death about the next 28 months of praying and hoping that he does not relapse.   Grant's little body has been put through so much and we could not be prouder of the way he has handled it.   He is a tough little guy and has endured so much more than any child should  should ever have to endure. And he has done it, for the most part, with a smile on his face.   Melanie and I are reminded sometimes when we talk to the older kids at TCH about how bad the chemo can make them feel. They talk about the fatigue, muscle  aches and nausea they feel after a treatment.   Grant was diagnosed at age 2 1/2 so he doesn't even remember not having leukemia or what it's like to feel "normal."  He never talks about how the chemo makes him feel,  but it must make him feel, at times, exhausted and achy. 

 In addition to being poked and prodded, stuck with needles and filled full of poison for 2 1/2 years, he has battled so many serious side effects of treatment.   He had kidney problems, methotrexate toxicity, severe sores on his mouth and esophagus preventing him from eating, intestinal complications, multiple C Diff infections, liver toxicity,  an unknown skin reaction to chemo, fevers, over 200 nights as an in-patient and multiple stays in the ICU.  Most significantly he had a severe neuro-muscular reaction in August of 2009 from which he is still recovering.   One day, as a 3 year old,  he was playing baseball and soccer like he was 5.  The next day he couldn't talk or walk.   He underwent occupational and physical therapy for  2 years and has made a huge recovery.   His talking and cognitive abilities seem to have completely recovered.  He has made enormous strides in his walking/running but he is not "normal" yet.   He still has balance issues and he can't run as well as you'd expect a 5 year old to be able to do. 

Grant missed the entire school year of 2009-2010 and about half of 2010-2011.  He started the 2010 school year on a walker and unable to play on the playground with his buddies.  He finished the year walking without any assistance(sometimes) and playing on the playground on a limited basis.  He is now walking completely independently and playing every day on the playground.  He is able to play baseball again and is starting to really like playing tackle football with Daddy.  Soccer is still very difficult for him because his feet still move a little sluggishly.   We are hopeful that as we resume PT in about a month he will continue to make improvements. 

Melanie and I are just as proud of Claire for how she has handled this ordeal.  She was only 4 when Grant was diagnosed. In a lot of ways she had to grow up fast.   It had to have been so frightening for her to find out that her little brother was sick and needed to be in the hospital for so long.  She must have been able to sense the anxiety and fear in Melanie and me, no matter how hard we tried to hide it from her.  She has had to deal with the many days and nights of Mommy and/or Daddy not being at home with her.  She spent many long days at the clinic or hospital, watching Grant receive treatment.   Grant received so much attention from us and others, which you would think would make her sad or angry.  Grant also got so many "perks" such as hanging out with Craig Biggio and being on the TV news.  Again, you would think that would make a little girl jealous or sad.  Claire has shown almost no resentment or anger towards Grant during this entire 2 1/2 years.  She seems to have a maturity beyond her years and is able to understand that Grant needs the special attention and it doesn't mean that Mommy and Daddy don't love her just as much as ever.   A lot of  credit for this must go to my mom.  Mom took care of Claire, in Waco and in Kingwood, on many occasions during Grant's treatment.  Largely because of that, Claire was still able to participate in her ballet and gymnastics activities and make every birthday party she was invited to.  I don't know what we'd have done without my mom.  She took care of Claire like she was her own daughter and she helped us retain as much normalcy as possible in our home.  


Melanie and I cant even begin to thank the many people who have helped us in so many different ways.  Our family has come through for us in ways we couldn't have imagined.  Our friends have also been there to support us, through prayers, fundraisers, dinners, babysitting, donating blood, and visiting us at the hospital.  We've also been touched by the many acts of kindness from strangers.  For example, Grant and Claire receive cards and letters all the time, from people all over the world, offering words of support and encouragement. 

Please continue to pray for Grant and our family.   And if you haven't done so already, please register with the Bone Marrow registry.  Is is so easy to do and there are so many people in desperate need of bone marrow transplants. 





 

About Me


Melanie McTaggart I am the proud mom and Claire and Grant. I am so blessed to have them in my life!

January 5 2012

Posted by Melanie McTaggart on Thursday, January 5, 2012
David here.    Grant completed his last scheduled  in-clinic chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday.  He will continue to take oral chemo for about 4 more weeks.   He will undergo a diagnostic spinal tap and bone marrow biopsy at that point.  After that, he will get his blood checked every 4 weeks(unless we want it done more frequently) and have his bone marrow and spinal fluid checked about every 3 months.   The doctors don't really use the term "cured," but they say  that if he reaches the 5 year from diagnosis milestone and is still in remission, then it would be very surprising if he relapsed.  That means we have at least 28 months(June 1 2014) before we can really start to feel comfortable about his long term condition.  But this is still a milestone for us. 

Melanie and I have such mixed emotions at this stage.  On the one hand we feel like celebrating; on the other hand we are scared to death about the next 28 months of praying and hoping that he does not relapse.   Grant's little body has been put through so much and we could not be prouder of the way he has handled it.   He is a tough little guy and has endured so much more than any child should  should ever have to endure. And he has done it, for the most part, with a smile on his face.   Melanie and I are reminded sometimes when we talk to the older kids at TCH about how bad the chemo can make them feel. They talk about the fatigue, muscle  aches and nausea they feel after a treatment.   Grant was diagnosed at age 2 1/2 so he doesn't even remember not having leukemia or what it's like to feel "normal."  He never talks about how the chemo makes him feel,  but it must make him feel, at times, exhausted and achy. 

 In addition to being poked and prodded, stuck with needles and filled full of poison for 2 1/2 years, he has battled so many serious side effects of treatment.   He had kidney problems, methotrexate toxicity, severe sores on his mouth and esophagus preventing him from eating, intestinal complications, multiple C Diff infections, liver toxicity,  an unknown skin reaction to chemo, fevers, over 200 nights as an in-patient and multiple stays in the ICU.  Most significantly he had a severe neuro-muscular reaction in August of 2009 from which he is still recovering.   One day, as a 3 year old,  he was playing baseball and soccer like he was 5.  The next day he couldn't talk or walk.   He underwent occupational and physical therapy for  2 years and has made a huge recovery.   His talking and cognitive abilities seem to have completely recovered.  He has made enormous strides in his walking/running but he is not "normal" yet.   He still has balance issues and he can't run as well as you'd expect a 5 year old to be able to do. 

Grant missed the entire school year of 2009-2010 and about half of 2010-2011.  He started the 2010 school year on a walker and unable to play on the playground with his buddies.  He finished the year walking without any assistance(sometimes) and playing on the playground on a limited basis.  He is now walking completely independently and playing every day on the playground.  He is able to play baseball again and is starting to really like playing tackle football with Daddy.  Soccer is still very difficult for him because his feet still move a little sluggishly.   We are hopeful that as we resume PT in about a month he will continue to make improvements. 

Melanie and I are just as proud of Claire for how she has handled this ordeal.  She was only 4 when Grant was diagnosed. In a lot of ways she had to grow up fast.   It had to have been so frightening for her to find out that her little brother was sick and needed to be in the hospital for so long.  She must have been able to sense the anxiety and fear in Melanie and me, no matter how hard we tried to hide it from her.  She has had to deal with the many days and nights of Mommy and/or Daddy not being at home with her.  She spent many long days at the clinic or hospital, watching Grant receive treatment.   Grant received so much attention from us and others, which you would think would make her sad or angry.  Grant also got so many "perks" such as hanging out with Craig Biggio and being on the TV news.  Again, you would think that would make a little girl jealous or sad.  Claire has shown almost no resentment or anger towards Grant during this entire 2 1/2 years.  She seems to have a maturity beyond her years and is able to understand that Grant needs the special attention and it doesn't mean that Mommy and Daddy don't love her just as much as ever.   A lot of  credit for this must go to my mom.  Mom took care of Claire, in Waco and in Kingwood, on many occasions during Grant's treatment.  Largely because of that, Claire was still able to participate in her ballet and gymnastics activities and make every birthday party she was invited to.  I don't know what we'd have done without my mom.  She took care of Claire like she was her own daughter and she helped us retain as much normalcy as possible in our home.  


Melanie and I cant even begin to thank the many people who have helped us in so many different ways.  Our family has come through for us in ways we couldn't have imagined.  Our friends have also been there to support us, through prayers, fundraisers, dinners, babysitting, donating blood, and visiting us at the hospital.  We've also been touched by the many acts of kindness from strangers.  For example, Grant and Claire receive cards and letters all the time, from people all over the world, offering words of support and encouragement. 

Please continue to pray for Grant and our family.   And if you haven't done so already, please register with the Bone Marrow registry.  Is is so easy to do and there are so many people in desperate need of bone marrow transplants.