Close

CaringBridge Is Funded by People Like You

Make a donation to CaringBridge

Honor Zachary with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge today.

Click here to make your donation.

Zachary’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge site. It has been created to keep friends and family updated about our loved one.

My Story is the introduction to our CaringBridge site.

Be sure to read the latest in the journal, view the photo gallery, and drop us a line in the guestbook.

In November of 2006, our five year old son Zach began having random bouts of nausea and vomiting accompanied by an increasing loss of coordination. A CT scan performed 11/14/2006 revealed a posterior fossa brain tumor and resultant hydrocephalus. On 11/16/2006 at Shands UF Dr. Pincus removed Zach’s tumor. The follow-up MRI indicated the surgeon had successfully removed all the tumor tissue. Pathology reports diagnosed Zach with “Classic Medulloblastoma”. A lumbar puncture on 11/28/2006 showed “suspicious cells” in Zach’s spinal fluid.

Zach’s treatment plan calls for radiation therapy to his entire brain and spinal cord, additional radiation to the posterior fossa where the tumor was located, and then 8-10 rounds of chemotherapy. As of 01/07/2007, Zach has completed the craniospinal radiation and has begun the radiation therapy focused on the posterior fossa. The radiation therapy will be completed by the end of January. After a 4 week break, the chemotherapy regimen will begin.

As a side effect of the brain surgery, Zach developed cerebellar mutism. This is a difficult concept to understand and describe, but what follows is my attempt. The connection between Zach's conscious/cognitive mind and his physical functions are disjointed/disconnected as a result of the trauma to his brain from the tumor and its subsequent removal. It appeared that Zach has regressed to an infant like state. He could not walk or talk and had to wear a diaper again. Yet cognitively he was still in there. He knows everything and everyone he did before. He just can’t make his body work right.

The good news is that this is a transient condition. Zach has been working diligently with Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. Zach no longer has to wear a diaper. He communicates through self taught gestures, roars, squeals, and sign language. He is controlling his body much better with sitting up unaided, crawling & scooting around on his own, and standing & walking with support. Zach is on the way back. All he needs is time to strengthen and heal.

Check Zach’s Journal for a Historical Email account of his story.

Latest Journal Update

Warrior Zach makes the Headmaster's List in 6th Grade

I grew up with a Dad that never saw the A's on my report card. Any other letters always seemed to attract more of his attention. As a result, I have tried not to be like him when I reviewed my boys grades. Our focus has always been more on efforts than the results. With Zach, as with any kid in reality, we have never known what to expect from school. He, however, has been in truly uncharted territory since day one of his second trip through pre-k at Brookwood. Each year the meeting with administration and teachers goes the same. "Zach has performed beyond everyone's expectations with just a little help from his friends in the Academic Resource Center. We don't want Zach to get special treatment, but we want everyone to be aware that he is a little bit different student. Now challenge him and see what happens."

This year was a true leap for Zach as he tackled middle school. How would our boy respond to change? Changing classes? Organization? Self motivation? Homework? More homework! Changing clothes for PE? Navigating a lunchroom without the controls of lower school? Puberty? Midterms? Finals? As noted in assembly today, middle school is a tumultuous time to navigate in every kid's life. Zach's included.

At the beginning of the year, we set up a series of checks and balances for Zach. A friend writing down his assignments everyday. Extra time to make it to PE to change. Notes from classes. A lunch buddy to get him thru the line. A whole second set of books to keep at home for studying. As the year progressed Zach's report cards were reflecting success and challenges. He adapted and we adapted. More success was had. Sometimes he was frowning as we suggested he could do school work between 3pm Friday and 8am Monday without it causing a disturbance in the space time continuum. Studying along the way in advance of tests may work better we suggested to his frowny face. Then the emails started rolling in concerning Middle School Awards Day. Hmmm? We had no misconceptions about Zach having the top average in his subjects. We knew he had performed admirably during the year but we had not seen "those" grades.

This morning at the Middle School Awards lots of awards were given out to the same small group of students for the highest averages in all the subjects. Then the Headmaster arose. He would be recognizing those who had achieved a G.P.A. of 3.33 or higher for the year. Alphabetically, the Headmaster called out names from all three grades together. In the final group, he pronounced the name that made us proudest of all "Zach Singletary". In his usual manner, Zach arose and headed to the risers on the stage to be recognized and smile for the picture to be posted later. Warrior Zach rocks on and doesn't even know he is dazzling the world. Mom and Dad shed a tear. Afterwards students, Mom, and Dads all congratulate Zach on his accomplishment. Quietly he replies with a "Thank You" or his trademark shrug of his shoulders.

Mom posted the pics to Facebook. The "likes" and "comments" continue to come in. Attaboy Warrior Zach!

Blessed beyond measure we are. Warrior Zach takes another triumphant step in a journey to who knows where. A friend said that the magic happens when reality exceeds expectations. It appears Zach may just be a magician too.

Many Thanks to Zach's classmates, teachers, administrators, friends, and prayer warriors. We are blessed to have you all helping him along on this adventure of life as a Survivor.

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!
heart
4 people hearted this

Comments

2 Comments

Sheila Bullington
By Sheila Bullington
Beautiful! Way to go Zach!
Janice McNees
By Janice McNees
This is a wonderful achievement, it brought tears to my eyes as I read it and thought not only of Zack and his quiet smile but of Tim and Karen. You have always been the most wonderful, uplifting parents and friend to all. So a big congratulations to each of you, and that includes brother Levi too.
heart
1 person hearted this