On June 11th, Tanner was diagnosed with Metastatic Medulloblastoma, a common brain cancer in children his age. The next day, he underwent 12 hours of tumor removal at Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. He will need to undergo three intensive rounds of chemo therapy with two intermediate chemotherapy in between. The first round of chemotherapy did not go according to plan and had to stay in the hospital for 26 days. Then after being home for only three days, Tanner had to go back into the hospital for a GI bleed caused by mucositis from the chemotherapy. He has lost his hair, is in constant pain, and we see only small blips of our once dancing, very happy baby boy. He was a very independent little guy. He was always excited when he was picked up from school, running to us saying “MOMMY! DADDY!” Now he needs help to get off the bed, to walk, and go to the bathroom. Because of side effects of the chemo, he does not want to eat so he lost weight. With help from TPN, he has gained some weight but will need total nutrition throughout therapy. He cries and sobs and wants to go home. When he’s in the hospital, mommy or daddy stay with him because of the constant care; which means one of us goes home alone. It will be a long road ahead for Tanner. I pray that this nightmare will be behind us by Christmas and we can lead normal lives again. Because of the uncertainty, we take everything day by day, hour by hour. It’s hard to sleep at night. Both mommy and daddy are exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and religiously. If you see us smile, it’s a forced smile but we are hanging on to hope. After several miscarriages, Tanner is our fourth baby and is not supposed to go thru something like cancer. He was only supposed to go to the hospital for a broken leg playing football or get a couple of stitches because he fell off his bike.
Please, love your children one more time before they go to bed. Don’t be short with them because you had a bad day at work. Let them sleep in your bed if they want to. If they want ice cream for dinner, every now and then, let them. Take pictures WITH them, they don’t care if your hair is a wreck. Spend time with them on weekends and not cleaning the house. Go all out for birthday parties. Let the last thing they hear from you be “I love you.” You never know when your average, everyday life will change forever. How I wish I could go back to the day before his diagnosis and remember every detail.
Written by Mom, "Cheryl Labao" and Dad, David "Buddah" Boehnke