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On October 29, 1998, at age 6, while living in San Diego, Tyler was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a malignant disease (cancer) of the bone marrow and blood. Acute leukemia is a rapidly progressing disease that results in the accumulation of immature, functionless cells in the marrow and blood.
He spent the following 2 1/2 years going to the hospital for chemotherapy treatments. In June 2001, we were so excited to know that his treatment was finished and celebrated with our family and friends.
After several years in remission, on May 25, 2005 at the age of 12, while living near Pittsburgh, he would face cancer again and endure another 3 1/2 years of chemo.
He finished his chemo treatment in the summer of 2008. Things had been going well and we had been looking forward to Tyler's Senior year in High School. We had been getting prepared with school with such things like new supplies, clothes and Senior portraits.
In September of 2009, Tyler went in for his monthly routine check-up. During his checkup, his doctor checked his neurological state and asked him to follow her finger where she pointed. When she pointed up above, the iris of his right eye was not as strong and did not go to the same level as his left. She suggested we go see an ophthalmologist to see why the iris on Tyler's right eye was lower than his left during a routine neurological test.
Several days prior, he started feeling tingly sensation on the right side of his face, headaches, nausea, and neck pain. After talking on the phone with the clinic, it was suggested we go down to have a CT scan and MRI of Tyler's brain were they found a few lesions. A 15mm lesion was putting pressure on an optic nerve that controls 4 muscles to the right eye.
With his doctor on vacation, the clinic still felt it was important enough for us to be seen by another doctor. The next day, after a painful spinal and bone marrow test, we found out the horrible news, the lesions were a result of leukemia in his brain.
After his last diagnosis on September 18, 2009, he immediately started chemotherapy. It was then determined a bone marrow transplant (BMT) would be necessary. We were blessed with a perfect match donor, his sister, Chelsea. The BMT took place on March 3, 2010.
It has been over four years since that day. Since then, Tyler has been dealing with late effects from his 6 ½ years of chemotherapy and radiation treatments as well as Chronic Graft vs. Host Disease. He was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis and Bronchiolitis Abliterands in early 2012 as a result of the radiation treatments. His condition steadily deteriorated through 2014 and on November 16, 2014 Tyler received new lungs.
After being diagnosed a 3rd time with Leukemia, having a Bone Marrow Transplant in March 2010 and a Double Lung Transplant on Nov. 16, 2014, Tyler continues to fight this battle. However, God continues to work in his life today. For brief synopsis, in his own words, of his struggles this past year, You can watch this video: Tyler's Storyhttp://youtu.be/ejoT_x7Wxj4.
Latest Journal Update
I know it’s been a month since we last spoke. I apologize. Let me give you an update on everyone:
First Tyler - He’s been doing fantastic. Enjoying life and trying to keep busy. He does a lot of work with our church. He does the sound board for Sunday services. He helps with light maintenance during the week. And he helps Clark and I lead a Life Group at our house for 18 to 28 year-olds. He is starting to get into the mindset of a job/career. Unfortunately he is limited on his choices but at least he has hope and opportunity. Ty continues building his dreams.
Karen - She’s still working but very little. (It’s better that way.) She still gets around and helps us with leadership in our Life Group. She still takes care of everyone. Well, Ty, Josh and myself. She’s been busy organizing a fundraiser, as you may have derived from our previous posts. (Please donate, sign-up for dinner and/or golf) - Sorry, I had to plug it. Karen continues being my dream.
Joshua - He started his sophomore year at OSU this week. He’s moved into an apartment with a high school friend. He enjoys college life it very much and the academics too. He spent his summer working and vacationing in CA, Mexico and TX. He and Ty have a birthday coming up in September as well as our newest family member - Micah. Josh continues chasing his dreams.
Chelsea - She is enjoying married life and doing very well in progressing her career at work. She, as well as Micah, is part of the band at church and have a busy social life with good friends. They drop off Lilly (Chelsea’s dog) once a week so that Lilly can attend our Life Group and great everyone who comes in the door. Lilly lived here and was a part of the group when we started, before Chelsea and Micah got married. Chelsea and Micah continue living the dream.
Me - I’m living the dream. It’s been a very busy summer. Working every weekend. If not it’s because of a wedding in the family. We’ve had 5 this year between our daughter and nephews and nieces. I’ve been busy, as previously mentioned, leading a Life Group for younger folk. It has been a great joy serving these young men and women. I admit, it’s been hard readjusting to normal life. Problems that I wouldn’t bat an eye at previously are now my problems. Well, we all deal with the day-to-day hassles of life. There have been many times I’ve asked myself: “How can this be a problem? We have been delivered through so much. How can I let these issues be a worry?” I know that my Deliverer will not fail. But there are times when I fail to trust. Even though He has proven time and time again His faithfulness. I just have to keep learning to change my perspective to His perspective. Is there anything too hard for Him? Oh, sure, He’ll take you through the problems more that take you out of the problems. But it’s only for the good on my behalf. He continues to transform me to His likeness. Unfortunately for me, I’ve got a long, long way to go.
Looking back to a year ago, I remember looking at our situation: Ty was slowly dying. Karen was becoming more and more incapable. I remember telling the Lord: “I don’t want to go down this road. I really don’t. But I will. You’ve set the path before me and it is the only path I trust.” So all 6 of us (Micah too) went down that road. You all journeyed along with us. And here we are on the other side of the valley of death and despair. You too have a path set before you. Will you take it? Do you trust Him? I surely thought my path was going to end in the death of my son and Karen needing full time assistance. I accepted that path. Not because I’m anything but because He is everything. He has life. Where else would I go? Where else would you go? I hold on to the promise He gave Karen and I many years ago: Romans 8:28 “This we know, that all things work together for the good of the who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” The most important part of this verse - “This we know” I knew the path before me contained pain, suffering, agony and toil and death. But I know that all things, yes, death is part of all things, would somehow, even when I can’t comprehend it, would work towards our good. I cannot say that we are all still here because of anything we ourselves have done. But I can say that we are all still here because we love Him and are called according to His purpose and His purpose in us is not completed yet. You may be going down a path of great pain, suffering and even death for some of you, but know this: If His purpose is or has been accomplished through you going through the fire, you are living out your purpose. You may not have a clue as to why or how but that’s ok. He knows and maybe it is enough for just Him to know. Trust Him.
Keepin’ the Faith and Livin’ the Dream