Tyler’s Story: We Do, We Go, We See


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Each day I will feature a different guest blogger who will generously share their personal experience with childhood cancer.  Stories are always more potent than statistics.  The hope is that by learning about children with cancer, readers will be more invested in turning their awareness into action.  Read more about this series and childhood cancer HERE.

By Kimberlee Armstrong

Three and a half years ago, on February 8, 2010, our family was changed forever. Tyler was a typical boy, into typical boy mischief. Suddenly, he began to change. He was tired. He started having stomach aches and hip pain. We thought it was medication his neurologist had put him on for his ADHD, but we were wrong.

Finally, after a long discussion with the neurologist, we decided to take him into our local ER. We checked him in and got ready to wait. After 15 minutes of waiting, his Grandma came in with difficulty breathing. She got put in one room and Ty got put into another (on the other side of the ER of course). My husband was switching between rooms, making sure both his son and mother were taken care of.

We found out that evening that Tyler had some form of leukemia. Our minds were spinning out of control and we were taken by ambulance to the children’s hospital. He was poked, poked, poked. He would cry when any nurses or doctors came in his room. After a few days, he stopped crying. He stopped doing anything. He wouldn’t speak, talk or walk. He was a totally different child. He had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Ty with a visiting therapy dog, Hazel.
Ty with a visiting therapy dog, Hazel.

Ty’s treatment was set to be about 3 ½ years. The first year was the hardest. He was almost done with treatment, just 4 months to go, and they found leukemic blasts in his central nervous system. Ty officially relapsed on December 3, 2012.

We are in the thick of relapse treatment and it’s hard. So very different than the first time around. I think because we know so much more now. He’s seen so many of his friends die. And sometimes I don’t know if he will make it, but I will do everything I can to give him a special and memorable childhood. I don’t want cancer clogging up all of his childhood memories, so in the face of the unknown, we do, we go, and we see everything we can.

Ty in clinic.  Bald kids rock.
Ty in clinic. Bald kids rock.

Hang in there, Ty and family.  We are choosing hope and pulling for all of you.  

If you’ve missed any posts in Childhood Cancer Stories:  The September Series, you can find all of them catalogued HERE.  

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