Tyler | CaringBridge

Tyler’s Story

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.

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 via bilateral lung transplant.

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.

Since October of 2016, Tyler had Chronic Rejection of his new lungs and on February 13, 2018, Tyler had a bilateral lung re-transplant.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Regis & Karen Froats

Hi. Sorry it's been a month since my last update but it's also been a month since Ty's last post-op evaluation. His lung function has improved to 53%. That's a 5% point increase over the last test. That's great news as not only is it the largest percentage point increase to date but more importantly, his lung function has not plateaued. At some point it will stall out but the more functionality he gets the better his overall stamina will be and the greater his ability to do more in life. Everything is looking good with one possible exception: he has been having an increase in coughing the past couple of weeks and also coughing up sputum with black specs in it. The black specs is not something new however; he's been coughing them up since the transplant. It was tested for fungal and was negative. People always cough up all kinds of different "stuff" so it hasn't been too big a concern. But since he's had an increase the past couple of weeks, they're going to see if they can determine the source. He'll have a CT scan within the next couple of weeks and based off of that, they will do a bronc to see if they can visually locate the source as it can be a myriad of things. 99% of which are harmless.
Other than that, he's doing well. He's still discovering his limitations but increasing in stamina. He does go on small walks with Sadie almost daily and even went with her and I on a 2 mile walk a little while back. He's very seriously considering a rescue dog. We brought one home this week for a trial. He's about a 1 1/2 year old beagle. Ty calls him Buddy. He was a stray and his tail has not stopped wagging since we brought him home. He has a lot of mannerisms to learn and in 48 hours has shown great improvement. Sadie has a love-hate relationship with him as he doesn't know when to leave her alone. She makes sure to tell him when enough is enough but he doesn't get the message. I am pleased with his progress but how he behaves with Sadie is the big test.
This guy is so, so happy to be a part of our home. Always smiling and always wagging that tail. It just goes to show that no one is a lost cause. You would be amazed at how love, attention and understanding can transform someone's life. Without love, there is no hope but with love comes hope and with hope, life. Because of Christ's love we have hope and because of hope, life. Just as Jesus said: "I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) Are you in need of love? Hope? Do you want life? The answer lays waiting for you to receive it. You must first let go of the things that restrain you from love, hope and life. The things that are life draining. If you turn from your sinful ways and surrender your life to him, just as He said, you will receive life. Do it today for today is the day of salvation.
If you already know Christ, you can make a difference in someone's life. Just as we have instilled hope, love and attention to this creature, we can do so much more with the people around us who have no hope. No life. No love. We all have pain in life and it's our responsibility to help each other through it. As Paul said in Gal 6:2: "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Keepin the faith,
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