[Ross]

Ross's Story (2 of 2)
as told by Aunt Sherri

Copyright © 1998,1999,2000,2001 BigBruno.com
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[Ross]


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Ross was a "normal" little boy who loved running and playing. The month before Ross turned 3, (he is 6 now) he started stumbling. It got to the point that he was losing his balance on a continual basis.

He was first taken to his pediatrician, who said nothing is wrong....."maybe" an orthopedic problem. He was then taken to a orthopedic surgeon who said he had a condition called Ataxia....a balance problem, BUT Ataxia is not a diagnosis, it is a symptom of a problem. He sent Ross to a neurologist. The neurologist ordered a CT scan and immediately saw a brain tumor, the size of an egg. He made the arrangements and Ross underwent surgery 2 days later.

When they got in, the tumor turned out to be the size of an orange. It was on the posterior fossa section of his brain and it was malignant......Medullo Blastoma, a known childhood cancer. They opted to only remove 1/2 of the tumor and then wait two weeks and remove the other half. Because of complications, they had to go back in three days later.

He then developed a problem with fluid building on his brain and had to undergo a third surgery to put in a permanent shunt to relieve this fluid build up. He developed a condition called "posterior fossa syndrome" that is associated with his type of tumor....it left him unable to walk, talk, and for 2 months he was in ICU and had to be monitored constantly and heavily sedated, because the condition caused severe agitation, including his vital signs being critically unstable. He also had to have a central line put in to recieve his medicines, TPN which is total nutrition due to his inability to eat and to put his chemo through. His blood pressure fluxuated, sometimes nearing stroke level, his little feet contracted, causing him to have to wear casts on both legs. The Ross we knew slowly disappeared.

He was scheduled to have a tracheostomy put in and one hour before surgery Ross chuckled outloud....this was his turning point. His doctor even cried. The surgery was cancelled. He first had a round of chemo, then had 6 weeks of high dose radiation. He then had 4 months of high dose experimental chemo where they harvested stem cells from his bone marrow and then injected them back into him on the 5th day of each treatment. He was the youngest child to ever undergo this type of protocol.

I remember personally feeling helpless. This could not be happening to my family. Cortney and Brandon were devestated. Our whole family almost ceased functioning. Karen quit work and was full time in Memphis with Ross, his Dad, James was there for over a month before having to return to work and come up on weekends. Mom stayed for about a month also. She then drove from Chattanooga to Memphis every weekend the whole 11 months he was there. I went to stay with Karen a week each month, Our Dad went. His other grandmother Debbie, quit her job and stayed the entire time. I think that out of the whole time Karen was only alone with Ross there for one day. Ross does not have any siblings. During his stay Ross was visited by Faith Hill, Alabama and Kevin Sharp. Yes, there was a period of time that I really wondered if he would make it.....I remember spec! ! ifically once crying all the way home from Memphis. I just did not want to leave him. If not for my faith in God and the peace that only he can provide, I do not think I could have taken it.....and I am just his aunt. Now days finds Ross in kindergarten class at Cowan Elementary flirting with all the pretty girls. He is still in his wheelchair, but progress is continually seen and with his type of tumor will be ongoing for many years. Our witty, sometime stubborn and precious boy has returned. He may have lost some mobility for a time, but has his memory and same outgoing personality. He goes St Jude every 6 months for a check up. He will be followed for the rest of his life but he is now 2 1/2 years going on a lifetime cancer free.

Ross's wish comes true...in Disney World

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Copyright © 1998,1999,2000,2001 BigBruno.com
Return to Ross's Story page 1 o 2
Please
email me with your comments and suggestions.