…81 Days Until Race Day
Today’s story is Grant’s story, told by his father, David. For emphasis, I have taken the liberty to CAPITALIZE astonishing parts to drive home just how far Grant has come in his life.
“At the age of 2 ½ Grant was diagnosed with a rare, very high risk form of leukemia called Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
He was actually diagnosed when while visiting his grandparents in Waco for Memorial Day Weekend in 2009.
Grant’s tummy had been a little bloated for a few days and he started to run a low grade fever. Despite being reassured by the pediatrician’s office that it did not sound serious, Grant’s mommy Melanie just knew something was wrong and insisted that Grant needed to be taken to the hospital in Waco.
Grant’s grandfather, a pathologist at that hospital, ended up making the diagnosis of leukemia at around 3am on May 24, 2009.
Grant was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital via ambulance and was initially given a grim prognosis of a 25-40% chance of survival.
After the first week of high dose chemotherapy Grant’s doctors read about a clinical trial that had just ended which showed that with a new drug added to the treatment regimen, the survival rate for Grant’s type of leukemia increased dramatically. The doctors immediately started Grant on that new medication.
Grant ultimately endured 3 ½ years of high dose chemotherapy. The first half of that was in-patient which meant that Grant typically spent 2 or 3 weeks out of every month in the hospital receiving and recovering from chemotherapy. He then underwent 20 months of out-patient chemotherapy which involved many long days of chemotherapy at the clinic.
He missed an entire year of school and ½ of another.
Grant suffered many side effects of treatment including terrible mouth sores, hair loss, an inability to sleep, and severe body swelling from high dose steroids.
He underwent more than 20 blood and platelet transfusions; more than 25 spinal taps and more than 25 bone marrow biopsies.
Grant developed two very serious side effects of treatment. One was damage to the cerebellum of his brain which led to an INABILITY TO WALK, TALK OR SIT UP on his own.
Through years of physical and occupational therapy Grant has REGAINED THE ABILITY TO WALK.
He even PLAYS BASEBALL AND SOCCER.
He is also ABLE TO TALK and attend regular school with kids his age.
The other serious side effect was an intestinal condition called C Diff induced N.E.C. This condition put him in the ICU where we found out the condition was life threatening.
He survived that as well.
Grant goes to Texas Children’s Cancer Center every 3 months for the doctors to confirm that he is still in remission.
He also must receive an injection of human growth hormone EVERY NIGHT until the age of 16 because one of the medications he received during treatment caused his body to stop producing any growth hormone.
Grant amazes us every day.
The neurologists say that they are shocked that GRANT CAN WALK, RUN AND PLAY SPORTS (with some difficulty) in light of the significant damage to his brain that they see on his MRI’s.
We attribute that to the grace of God and Grant’s incredible fighting spirit.
As Grant’s physical therapist says all the time, “You have to make that kid stop; he will never quit”. – Grant’s Dad, David
Today’s workout was my weekly boxing workout at Baby Bull Boxing. By FAR, today was the hardest workout I’ve ever done. I nearly threw up…TWICE.
10 minute warm up on the treadmill followed by 1 round of shadow boxing, then 9 grueling rounds of NON-STOP heavy punching. We capped off the workout with 20 walking lunges carrying 22 lb kettle bells in each hand and 20 push ups…4 SETS.
When I finished the workout, my coach, Brian Caldwell fist bumped me and said, “Great work, Kev. THAT was some elite s**t.”
That is why I dedicate today’s workout to Grant.
Can you imagine, having SO MUCH BRAIN DAMAGE that you have to re-learn how to walk, talk and sit-up…and not only HAVING to do that BUT ACTUALLY DOING IT?!!
THAT’S a fighter!
Who will you meet tomorrow?