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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

Awareness

Today is the last day of August.

Tomorrow September begins Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Lots of Septembers passed before we thought twice about September meaning anything other than fall, back to school, and football. Then in November of 2006 the doctor spoke those words "There's a mass and it has to come out." Since then September has been gaining momentum in our family for reasons other than cooler days and pigskin. The next September Zach was still in treatment getting chemotherapy on a regular basis but not in school on a regular basis. The next September Warrior Zach was back at Brookwood in kindergarten full time again.

A Presidential proclamation declared September 2011 as the first Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with September 12th being designated as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Here's where September changed for our family. Mom had been passionate about "Awareness" she had been introduced to the 46Mommas and the St. Baldrick's foundation www.stbaldricks.org  Two groups dedicated to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research. After much thought and discussion, Momma decided to join the 46Mommas by shaving her head to raise awareness. A bald woman catches the eye of the public and presents opportunity to start conversations.

Brainstorming and whirlwind planning resulted in lots of lemonade being sold and school kids collecting coins to donate for Childhood Cancer Awareness research funding and a Big Shave Event. Brookwood School gave Zach's Momma a venue for her Big Shave Event. We had no idea how wonderful this event would be for our family, our Brookwood family, and our community. At half time of the Warrior football game Momma kicked off things by getting her head shaved for the first time. Then we were amazed when Zach's second grade teacher Miss Hall made the bold move stepping up to the barber's clippers. The school's headmaster, several teachers, and students joined in shaving that night. Multiple School Organizations presented Zach's newly bald Momma with "Big" handmade checks commemorating funds they had raised and were donating to the cause. Hearts swelled with love and tears were shed. Our family was honored to share this amazing event with our friends, our Brookwood family, and our community. Our first September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was monumental.

Since that September the Thomasville Childhood Cancer Awareness group has approached each September filled with passion and hope. The goal continues to focus on raising awareness and research funding by selling Gold Awareness Bows, washing cars, selling lemonade, bake sales, and fund raising events hosted by local businesses to support the cause. This will be much the same with exception of Zach's Mom shaving her head. She has been sporting the shaved do since the 46Mommas Shave for the Brave event in Kansas City this past June https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/777511/2015 for details or to donate.

Because I know you all want to participate, here's a list of this September's events -

Friday 9/4 7:30-9:30pm - Lemonade Stand & Gold Awareness Bow sales during the First Friday Night event in Downtown Thomasville, Ga. 

Tuesday 9/8 5:00-8:00pm - "Eat Mor Chikin" at our Thomasville Chick-Fil-A to support Alex's Lemonade Stand 

Thursday 9/10 All Day - Dine at Barberito's Thomasville to support CURE Childhood Cancer

Saturday 9/12 10:00am-4:00pm - Our Annual Awareness Bow Sale / Car Wash / Bake Sale / Lemonade Stand in the Thomas Co. Board of Education Parking Lot

Saturday 9/19 9:00am-12:00pm - Pamper yourself at Thomasville's Blush Salon & Spa fundraiser to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer

Saturday 9/26 - Shop Mimi's in Thomasville or online www.mimisthelook.com to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer

Every Saturday in September shop the Stone's Store near you and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to CURE Childhood Cancer 

The Thomasville Childhood Awareness Groups fundraising proceeds got to www.curechildhoodcancer.org and www.alexslemonade.org follow their links to learn more facts about Pediatric / Childhood Cancers.

Thanks for your support in the past and your support this year.

For those needing community service hours for school, visit our volunter spot website to sign up to help out with the carwash - http://vols.pt/xjSwsR