Pray for Grant

Six Year Anniversary - May 24, 2015

Posted by Melanie McTaggart on Sunday, May 24, 2015

When parents bring a healthy child home from the hospital, there is a sense of relief. You have made it. You have brought a child into this world and he or she is healthy. The doctors have released you to go home with this healthy baby to rear into adulthood. Thinking about your child developing a life threatening disease never crosses your mind.

Your child gets his or her first cold and it seems like a disaster. You are terrified for your baby as he or she battles a runny nose, tummy issues and a fever. Still, cancer never crosses your mind.

Well, on May 24, 2009, cancer entered my thoughts as I noticed that my then 2-year-old had a distended belly. Why? Why was my first thought “this is cancer?” It was a God thing for sure. With the hands of God pushing me, I insisted that we take Grant to the ER in Waco, where we were spending time with David’s family for Memorial weekend. Even though he only had a slight fever and a slightly distended belly, I knew that every parent’s worst fear was about to become my reality. And it did.

Six years ago today, my healthy baby was diagnosed with a very rare and high risk type of leukemia. I can still recall the feeling I had in that chilly ER room when my father-in-law and husband, with tear stained faces, told me what my father-in-law, a pathologist, saw under the microscope – leukemia cells. I recall lying next to a sleeping Grant as we waited for the ambulance to arrive to take us on a four hour ride to Texas Children’s. I remember fearing that we would lose him and instantly regretted fussing at him for acting bad, for not playing a game just one more time and for not reading him a book when I was totally exhausted. Regret. That is the first feeling you feel when faced with the fact that your child might die. I recall begging God not to take my sweet baby away and being angry with God for allowing Grant to get cancer.

So, 6 years have passed and feelings have changed. So much has happened. Fears have been faced. Friends have been made. Friends have been lost. Challenges have been overcome. We have had fun. Lots and lots of fun! With Grant’s cancer, we have changed. We have a cause we fight for. We learned that there is a community of people that supported us long before we knew they existed and we love them. Our daughter, Claire, has developed a care for others and a love for her brother that could only come from this experience. We have a deeper connection with God.

So, in honor of Grant’s 6 year anniversary,  here are just 20 of the things we have learned in the last 6 years:

1. Life is fragile. Hang on to every moment and cherish it. Celebrate today.

2. Having a child with cancer is a nauseating roller-coaster ride. The lows are really, REALLY bad and the highs are ridiculously amazing.

3. This is NOT a journey that God has chosen us to go on. Rather, we are on this path and He is on it with us. God has just given us unimaginable strength to handle it. 

4.
 People are good. Friends, family and strangers come out of the woodwork to help – even when you say you don’t need it. 

5.
  Little kids are amazing.  Not one time have Grant’s young friends not included him when he was having challenges walking, running or climbing. If he falls, little hands are there to offer him a hand up. If he can’t catch well, little friends ask Grant to be the one to throw the ball. Recess is a beautiful sight of God’s love at work.

6.
 Side effects of cancer treatments suck. They REALLY suck. This is a fact that we are hit with daily. There always seems to be some new side effect creeping up as we get further away from treatment.

7.
 Cancer treatments are getting better every day. Thank God for our research and those who have gone before us. 

8. Our nurses are our best friends and should be. They are the ones, not the doctors, that have to inject chemo into our child’s body. They are the ones that see side effects first and alert us and doctors to them. They cry with you and hold you up when you are feeling week. They truly are life savers. 

9.
  How to give shots to a child without flinching. Being a parent of a child with cancer is tough – especially when you are called on to be the one to give the child a shot – the one thing you hated other’s giving them when they were born. 

10.
  Tylenol does not come in a form that can be given by an IV, but needs to be. There is nothing worse than forcing Tylenol down a child’s throat when it is covered in mouth sores. (Come on Tylenol! We have put a man on the moon!!)

11.
   Avoid eating Goldfish for a week after taking certain chemo drugs. (Yep – solved the issue of vomiting after chemo with this one!) 

12.
   The “Cancer Perks” ROCK! (How else does your kid get to ride on a tractor in the lap of a Major League Baseball Player who is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year?) 

13.
   Your other child needs more attention than you are able to give at times. Don’t forget they are going through this too. Give your other child some extra love and attention when you are able.Set aside some special alone time with her.

14.
   Give-Kids-The-World-Village, where you stay during a Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World, is the greatest place on earth. Enough said. 

15.
   Disney World is best done with a kid with cancer. You get to the front of the line every time and characters seek YOU out. (Another Cancer Perk.) 

16.
   Texas Children’s is a wonderful place if you have to be there. Where else can a kid get chemo while riding a bike, meet Darth Vader in the flesh, eat as much junk food as you want, watch buildings being built, write on the windows, be on the radio and play pranks on doctors? 

17.
   Children are much better patients than adults. They never complain and never feel sorry for themselves. 

18.
   We are not immune. Just because one family member has had to face cancer, doesn't mean everyone else is in the clear. Our family has been faced with Grant’s leukemia, his grand-father’s lung cancer, his cousin’s testicular cancer, his great- grandfather’s leukemia, and others in the family have had thyroid, breast and skin cancer. Oh – and none of these are related. We tested. 

19.
   Kids with cancer are resilient. It is amazing how they handle the challenges they are faced with. 

20.
  The worry will NEVER go away. Just because your child has made it this far and is in remission, doesn't mean you can or have stopped worrying. 



 

About Me


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

Six Year Anniversary - May 24, 2015

Posted by Melanie McTaggart on Sunday, May 24, 2015

When parents bring a healthy child home from the hospital, there is a sense of relief. You have made it. You have brought a child into this world and he or she is healthy. The doctors have released you to go home with this healthy baby to rear into adulthood. Thinking about your child developing a life threatening disease never crosses your mind.

Your child gets his or her first cold and it seems like a disaster. You are terrified for your baby as he or she battles a runny nose, tummy issues and a fever. Still, cancer never crosses your mind.

Well, on May 24, 2009, cancer entered my thoughts as I noticed that my then 2-year-old had a distended belly. Why? Why was my first thought “this is cancer?” It was a God thing for sure. With the hands of God pushing me, I insisted that we take Grant to the ER in Waco, where we were spending time with David’s family for Memorial weekend. Even though he only had a slight fever and a slightly distended belly, I knew that every parent’s worst fear was about to become my reality. And it did.

Six years ago today, my healthy baby was diagnosed with a very rare and high risk type of leukemia. I can still recall the feeling I had in that chilly ER room when my father-in-law and husband, with tear stained faces, told me what my father-in-law, a pathologist, saw under the microscope – leukemia cells. I recall lying next to a sleeping Grant as we waited for the ambulance to arrive to take us on a four hour ride to Texas Children’s. I remember fearing that we would lose him and instantly regretted fussing at him for acting bad, for not playing a game just one more time and for not reading him a book when I was totally exhausted. Regret. That is the first feeling you feel when faced with the fact that your child might die. I recall begging God not to take my sweet baby away and being angry with God for allowing Grant to get cancer.

So, 6 years have passed and feelings have changed. So much has happened. Fears have been faced. Friends have been made. Friends have been lost. Challenges have been overcome. We have had fun. Lots and lots of fun! With Grant’s cancer, we have changed. We have a cause we fight for. We learned that there is a community of people that supported us long before we knew they existed and we love them. Our daughter, Claire, has developed a care for others and a love for her brother that could only come from this experience. We have a deeper connection with God.

So, in honor of Grant’s 6 year anniversary,  here are just 20 of the things we have learned in the last 6 years:

1. Life is fragile. Hang on to every moment and cherish it. Celebrate today.

2. Having a child with cancer is a nauseating roller-coaster ride. The lows are really, REALLY bad and the highs are ridiculously amazing.

3. This is NOT a journey that God has chosen us to go on. Rather, we are on this path and He is on it with us. God has just given us unimaginable strength to handle it. 

4.
 People are good. Friends, family and strangers come out of the woodwork to help – even when you say you don’t need it. 

5.
  Little kids are amazing.  Not one time have Grant’s young friends not included him when he was having challenges walking, running or climbing. If he falls, little hands are there to offer him a hand up. If he can’t catch well, little friends ask Grant to be the one to throw the ball. Recess is a beautiful sight of God’s love at work.

6.
 Side effects of cancer treatments suck. They REALLY suck. This is a fact that we are hit with daily. There always seems to be some new side effect creeping up as we get further away from treatment.

7.
 Cancer treatments are getting better every day. Thank God for our research and those who have gone before us. 

8. Our nurses are our best friends and should be. They are the ones, not the doctors, that have to inject chemo into our child’s body. They are the ones that see side effects first and alert us and doctors to them. They cry with you and hold you up when you are feeling week. They truly are life savers. 

9.
  How to give shots to a child without flinching. Being a parent of a child with cancer is tough – especially when you are called on to be the one to give the child a shot – the one thing you hated other’s giving them when they were born. 

10.
  Tylenol does not come in a form that can be given by an IV, but needs to be. There is nothing worse than forcing Tylenol down a child’s throat when it is covered in mouth sores. (Come on Tylenol! We have put a man on the moon!!)

11.
   Avoid eating Goldfish for a week after taking certain chemo drugs. (Yep – solved the issue of vomiting after chemo with this one!) 

12.
   The “Cancer Perks” ROCK! (How else does your kid get to ride on a tractor in the lap of a Major League Baseball Player who is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year?) 

13.
   Your other child needs more attention than you are able to give at times. Don’t forget they are going through this too. Give your other child some extra love and attention when you are able.Set aside some special alone time with her.

14.
   Give-Kids-The-World-Village, where you stay during a Make-a-Wish trip to Disney World, is the greatest place on earth. Enough said. 

15.
   Disney World is best done with a kid with cancer. You get to the front of the line every time and characters seek YOU out. (Another Cancer Perk.) 

16.
   Texas Children’s is a wonderful place if you have to be there. Where else can a kid get chemo while riding a bike, meet Darth Vader in the flesh, eat as much junk food as you want, watch buildings being built, write on the windows, be on the radio and play pranks on doctors? 

17.
   Children are much better patients than adults. They never complain and never feel sorry for themselves. 

18.
   We are not immune. Just because one family member has had to face cancer, doesn't mean everyone else is in the clear. Our family has been faced with Grant’s leukemia, his grand-father’s lung cancer, his cousin’s testicular cancer, his great- grandfather’s leukemia, and others in the family have had thyroid, breast and skin cancer. Oh – and none of these are related. We tested. 

19.
   Kids with cancer are resilient. It is amazing how they handle the challenges they are faced with. 

20.
  The worry will NEVER go away. Just because your child has made it this far and is in remission, doesn't mean you can or have stopped worrying.