MJ's Fight Against Ewing’s Sarcoma

Dear friends and family - we're reaching out to ask for your support for our beloved friends Becky, Mike and MJ Graves. These last few months have been nothing less than a parent's worst nightmare. Mike & Becky's only child MJ was just diagnosed with bone cancer. This comes shortly after Becky was let go from her job of 19+years, leaving them to solely rely on Cobra Insurance Coverage that ends in 16 months time and runs $2200 a month.

No parent should ever have to worry about the cost of their child's medical expenses. We would like Becky and Mike to be able to concentrate 100% on MJ and his needs by easing some of the financial burden.

Many people have asked how they can help. The best way to help at this time is by making a donation. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. We would also like to ask you to share this page with your family and friends...church groups, etc.

Becky & Mike are the kind of people who will go out of their way to help friends and strangers alike. Let's join together and be there for Becky, Mike and MJ. 

MJ's Last Few Months (shared by his mom Becky) 

In mid/late October 2017 MJ was experiencing pain in his thigh that got progressively worse throughout each day and then started fresh the next morning. Eventually it reached the point that even when lying down, he was in excruciating pain - literally screaming. That night even though we felt silly we took him to a standalone ER for thigh pain. I told her that he had a fever before we came if that was relevant and she said he did not have a fever, that body temp goes up at night. They moved his hip around, did an X-ray, and reported that they couldn't see any issues causing the pain. They offered a CT scan and blood work but said the CT scan would be a lot of radiation and if it were something that would be caught on a CT scan there would be other symptoms. So we agreed not to do the CT scan but I requested blood work. The doctor said that if we weren't doing to CT Scan there was no reason to do blood work. So we were released and told to follow up with our pediatrician, which we did the next day.

Our pediatrician checked MJ over and since she didn't find anything concerning she ruled the problem to be small muscle tears. She told him to take it easy. The pain did pass in a few days, for about a week, but then returned. We called the pediatrician who referred us to an orthopedic doctor. The ortho moved him around, took an X-ray, and said it happened because he needed to stretch before physical activities, and diagnosed him with tendinitis of the knee (yes knee?). After a week or two of no improvement and in fact worse pain, and after multiple calls to the ortho asking if they were sure, they referred us to physical therapy.

We owe so much to the physical therapist. It was fairly obvious to me that she knew something more serious was wrong throughout her examination. When she finished her evaluation she tactfully told us that there was something more going on and that we needed to go back to our doctors for more scans and blood work. So the next day she called the ortho for us and we called the pediatrician.

We went to three appointments that day. Pediatrician, blood work (ordered by pediatrician), and the ortho. The ortho took another X-ray, charged me for my visit (yes I'm bitter) and told me he wasn't qualified to help us because he saw nothing wrong and 'sees kids who have sports injuries'. So he referred us to a better ortho - the best pediatric ortho in Dallas.

The new ortho got us in the next day (Friday). He ordered an MRI which we had Saturday and he reviewed it over the weekend. He called Sunday night and told us MJ had infection in his pelvic bone and that he would need to operate within the week. He operated the first time on 12/20 (Wednesday). They took cultures but nothing (no bacteria) ever grew in the lab.

MJ slowly improved following surgery, but 10 days later (12/30) he had a night of terrible pain that woke him from sleep and couldn't be managed. We were out of town so went to an ER under our Ortho's instruction and had blood work and an ultrasound. Blood work hadn't improved so they changed our oral antibiotic but ultrasound looked normal. MJ started using his crutches 100% of the time and after not using the leg for a week or so it felt a little better but if he moved to much it resulted in hours of crying. Still nothing growing in the lab.

After returning home we had a follow up appointment and did blood work to check infection markers - they were WORSE not better. So the doctor ordered another MRI which we did the next afternoon. The doctor called about 2 hours after the MRI to tell us the infection in the pelvic bone was worse/bigger than when he operated. We had to go back into the operating room for the same procedure THAT NIGHT. It was much more aggressive/invasive and he was in a lot of pain. They took more cultures but again, nothing grew in the lab. They put in a PICC line so he could get IV antibiotics at the hospital and then eventually at home for 6 weeks.

Unfortunately a couple days later he was back in terrible pain in his thigh that caused moaning and screaming for long periods of time. Another MRI showed that he had infection/an abscess in his right thigh. Enter his 3rd surgery in a month on 1/20. More fluid taken for culture, but again nothing grew in the lab. Walking was limited to 25-50 steps and every time he got out of bed it resulted in an hour or more of terrible pain. He got mildly better and we were released on Wednesday 1/24 to home health.

Home was hard too. He might be fine for hours but if he had to crutch-it to the bathroom it would result in hours of writhing in pain and often fever. Tuesday 1/30 returned disappointing blood work and Wednesday 1/31 we had another MRI. The next day we had a follow up appointment at his office. When he came in MJ was on the table crying in pain. He asked us to come back into the hospital to operate in the pelvic bone again.

MJs 4th surgery was 2/1. They took a ton of bone and fluid and tissue so that they could rule things out and hopefully finally identify the root cause. MJ continued to have terrible pain. We all thought it was from the surgery but it got worse not better. His pain in his thigh was/is unbearable. They went through all the most powerful pain medications and nothing worked for more than a few minutes. He can't walk and can barely stand.

And now I come to (believe it or not) the worst part of MJs tale. The surgeon came to us last night (2/5) and asked if we wanted him to speak in front of MJ or in private. I already knew the news would be unbearable. He started with the fact that there was more/new infection in the right thigh and some also in the left visible from yet another MRI that morning. He would probably have to operate again. But he hadn't gotten to the worst part. The pathology lab had returned results. Yes they saw inflammation in the bone (indicating infection), but also "Small round blue cell tumor" cells.

We don't get know for sure which 'flavor' of cancer (yes, I just said that MJ has cancer). Our amazing orthopedic surgeon thinks it is one from a short list: Lymphoma of bone, Ewing's sarcoma, or PNET. He said it's aggressive, and its life threatening. And we can assume that if he had these cells in his pelvic bone that they are in all of his bones.

We are moving to a Dallas hospital with an oncology department in the morning, and plan to get a second opinion regarding the plan to heal him either in Houston or New York. It's our understanding that for this rare form of cancer those are the most qualified hospitals. And tonight we tell our 12 year old that he has cancer.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Penny Berman
Allen, TX
Rebecca Graves

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