Help Heal Slater from Neuroblastoma

$64,783 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 674 people in 14 months
Created March 27, 2018
28692644_1539742543868302_r.jpegWhat started out as bringing their four-year-old son, Slater, to the ER for leg pain, quickly turned into his parent's worst fear, a Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer diagnosis.  In less than 48 hours of his diagnosis, the Bushman Family was relocated to St. Jude Children's Hospital to begin immediate treatment.  Due to Slater's age and this form of cancer, he is considered high risk.  Treatment is expected to last approximately 18 months or longer.   Slater's parents had no time to prepare for such an unexpected ordeal and their primary focus is solely on the wellbeing of Slater and his six-year-old brother, Sawyer.

This GoFundMe account has been set-up to assist the family with the mounting medical costs, tutoring for both children and the loss of income since they have had to completely leave their life and relocate to another state to obtain the best care they could for their son.   No contribution is too small. If you are unable to contribute financially, please leave inspiring words and well wishes to show you're support for this beautiful family. Overall, nothing is greater than the power of prayer so please include the Bushman family in yours.

Thank you.
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I am still crying, we all are. ❤️❤️❤️

After 406 days here at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 425 days of hospital in total.. our prayers have been answered!!!

Our angel, at the age of 4 (he is now 5) was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma.. is today officially declared No Evidence of Disease, and is in remission!!!! He is Cancer Free!!!!!!

Dr. Sara and our D Clinic, and this hospital SAVED OUR BABY!!!!!!! You guys, you have no idea... no idea what his odds were, what we were facing, and what he had gone through... his disease, a tumor in his abdomen, wrapped around major veins to his organs, kidney, adrenal glands, liver, pancreas.. spread to his bones, his pelvis, all up his spine, into his clavicles, and spread all in his skull.. and also spread all into his bone marrow which was mostly made up of diseased cancer cells... it’s a miracle, a gift from God and our guardian angels up above (my mommy foremost!!) and all of YOUR prayers and support... and DR SARA and their groundbreaking protocol that she co-wrote... I am crying ugly tears, crying hard, as I type this.. My God... Dr Sara, and St Jude, you saved our baby, and forever I am grateful for you. How do you even thank someone properly for saving your baby’s life?!!!???!!! Crying so hard..

Yes he is going home with some complications that will take time to heal, some permanent, but OUR BABY IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️Today is the single most important day of our lives. Our baby is cancer-free!!! Hallelujah, he is healed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


#slaterstrong #teamslater #neuroblastoma #stjude #childhoodcancer #remission #morethan4

Shari Anne Shane Bushman
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It was really hard to relive some of the moments in making this video, and though we are broken inside for Slater, for our family, we have so much hope that this is not the story of his life that defines him, that he will have a full life of meaning and beauty, and most importantly, love. He grew his hair back so quickly - if only his little body could recover as quickly from all this treatment...
Thank you all for being a huge part of our journey, from Palms West Hospital to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for helping to save our baby, to all of you reading this, supporting him and us every step of the way. Special thank you to Kids Cancer Foundation and Brogues Annual Charity Golf Tournament-Sunday May 5th, 2019-8 am Shot Gun for your dedication to helping Slater, and us this past year, and for continuing to help the local children in our community battling these horrific diseases. It sure does take a village.

"If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together." Thank you all. We've come a long way.....

Shari Anne

#slaterstrong #teamslater #stjude #neuroblastoma #morethan4 Shane Bushman Shari Anne
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In Slater's mom words...

There have been some new developments over the past week and a half. We have been terrified, but at least we have some answers to Slater’s ailments, even if they are not what we had expected, nor wanted.
Slater has been vomiting and having head pain daily, and we have been doing every test and study we can to figure it out with his GI. We had hope that even with changing his formula, maybe it was as simple as that. If only things were so simple. About a month ago, he was put on TPN, (for Total Parental Nutrition), where he is not fed in the stomach but via his Central IV line in his chest, being fed via his blood. It requires him to be hooked up 24/7, and for us to get a new bag of fluids every night in the Med Room here at St Jude. Slowly over the weeks we’d go down on the TPN, from 24 hrs. all the way down to 16hrs. While going up on his new stomach feed formula (so he’s hooked up with two pumps and two bags, tethered).

Weekend before last, however, Slater’s headaches seemed a little different. Instead of a sharp pain he usually has that goes away after about 10-15 minutes once he vomits. this headache never really did. It was a full headache, much less intensity, but persistent. and all around instead of just a particular area. He just didn’t feel like playing much at all. and we felt it was off, enough to tell our oncologist in clinic appointment on Monday morning. What we didn’t expect is the urgency in which she took immediate action. She scheduled an MRI of the brain and face (to capture his sinuses just in case it was sinus related if he has allergies). We don’t normally do brain MRIs on our treatment protocol.

Tuesday morning, we had the MRI. Slater was under general anesthesia, for that. The risk of vomiting during anesthesia and aspiration, always makes us so worried. We sign the forms understanding the risk each and every single time he goes under. We were so worried, that this MRI could be our worst fears. You see, a secondary “C” is a very real risk for all the children undergoing treatment here. Just from Slater’s radiation therapy alone, 1 in 10 children will develop ANOTHER SECONDARY cancer from the radiation treatment. With the different chemotherapy drugs, each carry their own risk of secondary “C”. Slater has had about 10 different chemo. Not counting all the CT scans (a CT scan is about 100x the radiation of a single X-ray scan), the live X-ray scans, the regular X-ray scans. the radioactive dyes injected into his body for some scans, all of this is not without risk.

Tuesday afternoon our oncologist calls us with the results of his brain MRI - they were clear! Hallelujah! but they found a spot on one of his upper vertebrae on his spine. They need to investigate this spot, which they hadn’t seen before. We were a mess. She called us to tell us he will need another scan he hadn’t had before, a PET scan of his whole body, that also isn’t on our protocol, and another sedation scheduled the next day.

Wednesday we had the PET scan, it was clear! The spot they feel was old treated tumor, not new tumor. We were so thankful and rejoiced, thank you God!
However, the PET scan did show esophagitis, he had been vomiting some bloody streaks from all the vomiting episodes, so they decided for him to stop ALL stomach feeds for a couple of weeks, and go back entirely 24/7 to TPN (IV feeds). I know Slater would be so sad, going back to 24 hr. hookup, he can’t carry his backpack with an IV bag of 24 hr. fluids on him. it restricts his mobility but hopefully his gut will heal, and we can start with stomach feed tubes again.

Thursday, we had a neurologist appointment (never had one before) he discovered Slater had optic disc pressure (Pappiledema). He said he has pressure in his head, pushing on his optic nerve, it can result in permanent blindness. or worse. He believes it is caused by one of his immunotherapy treatments, the isotretinoin (accutane). He said Slater needs to see an Ophthalmologist asap, so we were sent to the Eye Clinic in St Jude to which they confirmed both his eyes had optic nerve pressure (pressure behind his eye). She deemed it intracranial pressure - brain pressure. She doesn’t know how much pressure, and it is dangerous, and it is for Slater’s primary medical team to discuss next course of action. We were sent downstairs to see our oncologist who already had a plan in place.

Slater needed to be sedated for a third time, the very next day (3 sedations in 4 days), for a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to see the spinal fluid pressure. That is how they see how much spinal fluid pressure he has, and if it is extremely high, they will remove spinal fluid to relieve the pressure in his brain. They removed just 5ml, enough to take a sample and send it off to the lab to test for other ailments to be completely thorough, to check for other types of “C”, meningitis, etc.

We returned from the procedure and were given medicine to help bring the swelling in his brain down, 2x a day, with a follow-up with neurology.

His diagnosis is Pseudotumor Cerebri, they feel brought on as a rare side effect (~1%) of isotretinoin (accutane). What this impact, is that they are stopping Slater’s isotretinoin. This is significant because it is part of his treatment to prevent relapse. Neuroblastoma is a very difficult disease to rid of, and recurrence is high. There is no known cure for a relapse. That “R” word for us is much scarier than the “C” word, because at least with “C”, we have treatment to fight it with, there are little options left for “R”.

we were supposed to start Course 5 of chemo/immunotherapy last Friday with his G-shot daily injections and admitted last Sunday evening to start his antibody treatment, and thereafter finish the course 5 and all of course 6 with the accutane. Instead we had delayed the start of the next round to get his brain pressure down, and unfortunately, we had to stop the accutane part of the treatment altogether. This means that we will not complete his treatment protocol. Our treatment will end after this round of antibody therapy, cut short 2 rounds of accutane.

Accutane is indeed the old “acne” medicine, but they found in very high doses, it takes cancer cells, and differentiates them, meaning, breaks them apart, and normalize them from mutated cells into normal cells! In these big scans, MRI, PET, MiBG, CT, X-ray, etc.. you cannot see individual cells. Only clusters, and we know all it takes is one single cell, as it’s how this all happened, from one mutated cell that replicated, and replicated.

Our amazing oncologist gave us the advice we needed to hear. We are so worried about him not getting the whole treatment, especially the part that helps prevent relapse, and she said we have to just put it behind us. We can’t change it, we have to move on, and let it go. She said she felt it was okay, she feels good he at least got 4 out of 6 treatment courses.

Unfortunately, the risk is too great to continue with accutane, and we don’t want him to lose his life over it, or brain damage or permanent blindness, so it is what it is.

If you’ve read this far, thank you, for being part of our emotional journey. A billion other things filled in the minutes and hours between scans, sedations, consultations, playing, and praying. We pray no other child and parent and sibling ever has to go through this journey. Please, God, help us to find a cure and heal our babies.

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January has been a really hard month for the Bushman family, not only Slater started his immunotherapy, but his maternal grandmother passed away on January 3rd. Slater has one more guardian angel to help him heal. Please say a prayer for the family.

January 18, 2019
Words by Shari (Slater's mom)

I’m so sorry for not updating sooner - my (Shari) mother’s passing has kept me offline a bit these past weeks. To briefly update, Slater has been (and is still) admitted in-patient at St. Jude. He is undergoing a form of chemotherapy called immunotherapy, which consists of antibody therapy, along with other treatments including IL-2 infused 24 hrs a day every day via IV for a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, he has been spiking fevers, likely due to the IL-2, but they must take every precaution because as all children with the Big “C”, he is immunosuppressed, and even more so as he is still not that far from his bone marrow transplant a couple of months ago in October.

My husband (Shane) has been the most amazing dad, taking care of Slater and big brother alone in St Jude, while I was back in my hometown at my mother’s hospital bedside for her final days, and thereafter (and still!) with funeral arrangements, and tending to my dad and their home, which in itself was a mini-hospital for my mom’s ailment of PLS/ALS. I still haven’t told the boys yet about their beloved grandmother, they can’t handle any more news of her (or anyone else’s) passing..

Slater’s chemistry showed he was low on certain levels, phosphorus etc... So he had gotten a bolus to help with the deficiencies. Hopefully his fevers will subside soon, and no cultures grow indicating bacterial infection, (they just took more blood now to check again, have been doing so daily). Also, we are hoping his blood counts stop dropping, or he will be needing yet another blood transfusion. He’s had 33 blood transfusions so far, we’re hoping he won’t need another...

Thank you all for continuing along with us on Slater’s journey. He has a new guardian angel in my beloved mother to help him heal. ❤️ and of course, all the love and support and prayers of you all. Come on our sweet Slater, you can do this......!!! We won’t let you fall. We’ve got you, love. All of us. We got you. ❤️❤️❤️
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$64,783 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 674 people in 14 months
Created March 27, 2018
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