Tucker was born to Tyler and Katrina in Feb 2012. They became pregnant again and welcomed Kyleigh in Jan 2013; no she wasn't scheduled to be born 11 months after her brother - but life has it's way. Kyleigh was born just about 3 months premature. As you can imagine this provided obstacles for her and the family. In Dec 2013 - Kyleigh under went surgery for hydrocephalus with a shunt set in place - this would not be the end to her medical hurdles. During her two month check-up the neurosurgeon took a quick look at Tucker and mentioned having him looked at by his Physician. Thankfully this was right before his 2 year check-up; so Mom asked the Doctor during this appointment and she instructed that he was fine. Not saying this is the first time Navy Doctors have been wrong - it is extremely frustrating that more attention wasn't spent on investigating the neurosurgeons suggestion.
A few weeks later Tucker started vomiting. When the term "infrequently" is used, it is loosely, because the vomiting was happening daily - infrequently in the morning, afternoon or evening. This happened for six weeks; he was prescribed antibiotics - and later diagnosed with GERDS. There was several visits to the Doctors and a couple of ER visits.
Until May 25, 2014 - Tucker started vomiting blood. Once arriving to the local ER - they discovered a tumor the size of a "fingernail" on his brain that was blocking a ventricle and causing fluid build up (what was originally anticipated as hydrocephalus). He was then life flighted to a North Carolina Children's Hospital. They originally planned an MRI to happen that evening but decided to wait until tomorrow with more staff on hand.
Monday, May 26 Tucker goes thru a detailed MRI and the doctors determine - tomorrow he was undergo surgery to remove the mass. The MRI did show that it did not spread down his spine.
Tuesday May 27- Surgery day. At appx 1100 Tucker is taken back for 5-8 hour surgery - due to the location of the tumor there was significant amount of risk. It was communicated that we should have a 70% accurate idea of the tumor being benign or malignant and 100% accurate answer in 5-7 days. The mass was causing hydrocephalus - something familiar in this unfamiliar environment. Around 650pm the 1.5cm "fingernail" size tumor turned into 2 golf balls side by side - 99.9% removed with a small portion left behind due to it's location on the brain stem. There was characteristics of both benign and malignant - 70% turned into 0% and waiting the lab results in 5-7days. All and all the surgery was great. Treatment plan will be determined after the results get back - follow up MRI to double check.
Wednesday May 28 - Tucker goes thru the MRI process again, it's clear - minus the portion left behind. Tucker gets moved to oncology unit - waiting for treatment options pending the results.
Thursday May 29 - Just another wait around and see what happens kind of day. Occupational and Physical Therapy were ordered. Tucker had little response and movement all day - stays pretty calm until he is moved or "messed" with. No hugs, no touching and no talking type of day. Just before 11pm - he takes some apple juice from a syringe! First food or drink by ingestion since Saturday.
Friday May 29 - Bandage removed. Tucker's battle scar is about 4inches long! (Chicks dig scars) First word - "COOKiE" and of course he shoved it all in his mouth followed by drinking from his sip cup!!
--Results come back-- Official diagnosis... rare form of cancer "EPENDYMOMA".
--Treatment plan-- radiation and possibly chemotherapy. Many future appointments to check on the portion of the tumor not removed.
Tyler is a U.S Marine stationed in North Carolina. Their family is located out of state and their Marine Corps family is on constant watch to help in any way possible.
- Emily Knitter
- Laurie Knitter
- Roush Family
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