We encourage you to read, share, and pray for each of these families. Thanks for your continued support of CANCER FREEZE.
Hope to see you all on Sat., 02-04-2023, where we’ll be “Freezin for 9 reasons!”
Happy New Year’s Eve! Today we share our final Cancer Freeze 2023 recipient,Dakota Adams. Below is his story written by his mom:
First off thank you for taking the time to read this as I introduce you to my family and our journey. My name is Allison Adams and I am a single mother to two amazing young boys, Braxton 9 and Dakota who is now 4. I am a Police officer and have been serving my community for the past 15 years.
Sunday May 15th 2022, 7am, I had just got off working an overnight shift, and it began like any other morning. Wake the boys up, fix breakfast, play, and get them ready to go to the sitters so I can take a few hours nap when I noticed Dakota was breathing heavier than usual. I asked if he felt okay and he said yes. About 10 minutes later he began having labored breathing and some gasping noises so I made the decision to take him to the local emergency room. Once there, they assured me he was just having acid reflux and that he was fine to go home with some medicine. Something in me told me this was not right so I requested a chest x-ray. After some convincing and agreeing to pay out of pocket to ease my mind, they agreed to it. Ten minutes after the x-ray the doctor came in and said they had found something in his chest cavity. I asked what that meant and they informed me they were taking us by ambulance to Sacred Heart in Pensacola. Once there, they did a CT Scan and said there was a 5 to 6 inch mass in his chest and we were now being sent to Shands Pediatric Hospital in Gainesville. When we arrived in Gainesville at 3am they did a biopsy and said the dreaded C word. It was T-cell Lymphoma cancer; he had a tumor in his chest cavity pressing on his left lung and pushing fluid onto his heart. I asked where we went from here and we started chemo within the hour. From first initial contact to his first dose was just shy of 24 hours. They explained they had to be aggressive due to this type doubling every two to three days.
We stayed in the Pediatric ICU for a little over a month until his vitals were stable and the tumor shrunk enough that we were able to transfer his care to Pensacola Sacred Heart to be closer to home. Almost 8 months later, we are still driving to Pensacola 3-5 times a week for treatment, pending where we are in his cycles and sometimes staying for overnights when necessary. Since his diagnoses we have celebrated his 4th birthday in July and recently we celebrated Christmas. For us now it is all about the little milestones and making the memories that matter. Meeting my Dakota you would never guess what he is going through, other than he will proudly show you his bald head. But he is truly a fighter and I stay in constant awe of him daily.
Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us in Florala,Al, at Lake Jackson on Saturday,February 4,2023, where we will be supporting Dakota and our 8 other chosen recipients for CF23!
Merry Christmas Eve morning! It is a chilly one! Today we would like to introduce you to Cancer Freeze 2023 recipient #8, Elliot Hamm. Below is his story written by his Mom, Kelly a few weeks ago when Elliot was currently in the hospital.
As I type this, I’m sitting in a hospital room for the second week in a row. I’ve put off sharing our story because I wasn’t quite ready to put into words the journey we’ve been on, so here is my attempt to consolidate that story to a few brief paragraphs.
My name is Kelly, my husband is Craig, and we have two sons, Jackson and Elliot. Craig is a bi-vocational pastor working as a financial advisor and Kelly is a writer for a Marketing Agency. We share this just to point out, we are your typical family who didn’t know their lives were about to be changed forever, in one day. Just one day changed it all for us. Let me tell you a little bit about it.
On August 3rd, 2022 we took our 2yr old son, Elliot, to the doctor for what we thought were mild symptoms probably of a virus or something similar. He had some bruising and a rash that had not gone away in a few days. We had some suspicions that it COULD be something more than a virus, but honestly pushed a checkup away for a few days thinking the rash and bruising would go away. There were no other pressing symptoms. No fever. No nausea and vomiting. No broken bones.
That previous Tuesday, Elliot was at the park with grandparents. He had been really tired and instead of playing he just sat down and didn’t want to engage. When we found this out, we immediately called the pediatrician for an appointment. In an uncharacteristic for me (Kelly) way, I pushed hard to be seen the next day instead of an appointment two days away.
Knowing now what he has, I firmly believe that was the Lord worked that out and that it was the Holy Spirit’s prompting to get him seen.
Anyway, we started that day with a somewhat routine pediatrician appt thinking we would end up on antibiotics or something similar. We ended up being told to pack a bag and head to Children’s in Birmingham, we needed him to be seen by a hematologist before shift change that same day. By 6:00pm that same day, we knew Elliot, our precious 2 yr old, had cancer.
We spent the next few weeks with our world turned upside down. Elliot had surgery a few days after his diagnosis to place a port for treatments and to determine what type of cancer he had. We learned shortly after that he has High-Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He started his first chemo treatments that week and we were told he would need to undergo treatment for roughly 2.5-3 years.
On August 8th, Elliot was not tolerating his medicine, as we spent roughly 5 hours just giving him his first of three doses of medicine, and his NG tube was placed. That was one of the hardest moments for us as parents, seeing him go through something so difficult and not being able to “save” him from it all.
On August 10th, we were bringing Elliot home from the hospital and trying to process all that our “new normal” would entail.
As you can imagine, being told your 3 year old has a high risk cancer diagnosis and that they will be in treatment for 3 years totally rocked our world. We were worried. Stressed. Afraid of what was to come. At the same time, we were trusting that God has a plan for us in this and for Elliot’s life. God provided for us on countless ways, and he continues to meet needs we don’t even realize we have.
For the next several weeks after his diagnosis, he battled the many side effects of chemo as he began a fight for his life. Nausea, vomiting, weight loss, lethargy, constantly sleeping, no interest in playing. He would hardly walk, would not let us give him a bath without screaming, he wouldn’t let us give him his chemo meds without doing the same. Everything that we were being told we HAD to do to save his life were also things that Elliot did not tolerate us doing. The first 2 months were a struggle in every way, everyday. If you have ever had a 2 yr old, you know getting them to do things they don’t want to do can be very difficult. Our days have been hard and we haven’t wanted to put
him through this process, but we know it’s necessary.
I’m thankful to say that today, Elliot is doing much better! He has improved in many ways over the course of the past 2.5 months. He no longer fights us for every bath, height and weight measurement, blood pressure reading, or oral med administration.
However, other necessary parts of visiting the doctor are still very hard for him. Every day we wake up not knowing if we will end up at the Hospital because he has no immune system. Every day is unknown. Port access is traumatic every week when we visit our clinic to receive chemo treatments. Many clinic days we have to have a lumbar puncture to administer chemo and Elliot can’t eat starting the night before. Those days are especially hard. We’ve been in the hospital for emergency visits related to his cancer 4 separate week long visits since August 3. (That’s a lot of time away from his big brother, whom he adores) We’ve been to clinic for treatment weekly, occasionally twice weekly, since diagnosis. We’ve spent countless nights where our family is separated because of his diagnosis. He’s gotten countless blood or blood product transfusions. All of this has taken a toll on him and us.
I(Kelly) have struggled with PTSD related to witnessing all Elliot has been through in the last few months and had to take a break from my job because of it.
Craig has had to find a way to balance working two jobs as well as taking care of our family through emergency hospital visits and weekly treatments. He’s stretched thin and we are both just doing what we need to do to take care of our boys, as any parent would!
I share all of this not to ask for pity or even to complain at all. I share it to drive home my point that we did not know how our lives were about to change on that morning of August 3rd. Our lives changed instantly and it’s been a battle for Elliot’s life ever since.
Although our days are drastically different in every way, we now know better than ever just how fleeting this life is. If it weren’t for our hope in the Lord, im not sure where we would be today. He has been our calm and peace throughout this journey. We know to cherish every moment. The verse we have lived by this entire journey so far is Psalm 91:1.
Elliot seems to be responding to his treatments, but he still has over 2 years worth of a battle left to fight. As a family, we are lucky to have a support system of believers all over who have been following along with us on Facebook- Elliot’s Prayer Warriors- and have continued to pray for us as we are enduring the ever changing circumstances that childhood cancer throws at us.
It would be a shame if we didn’t recognize just how lucky we are to have friends who care and reach out, but we know this journey is long and there is much more work to do. We ask that you continue to pray for Elliot as he fights for his life. Please pray for our family as we sometimes struggle to make the best decisions on how best to care for both Elliot and our 4yr old, Jackson. We are hurting, but are abiding in the shadow of the almighty Psalm 91:1.
If you want to support us, the best thing you can do is to follow our prayer update page on Facebook and pray for us daily! We know prayer works because we have seen it firsthand the past few months.
We appreciate you reading this far and hope you’ll be encouraged to live every day to glorify the Lord. Organizations like Cancer Freeze are doing what they can to glorify the Lord with their lives and providing for the tangible needs of people like us. We praise Him for the work God gave them to do here and are so thankful God fearing leaders of Cancer Freeze are sharing the gospel with others and giving of their time to make His name great!
Even in hard moments, God is worthy of praise! Praise Him for the gift of another day and pray with us that Elliot will have many more days to worship our Lord and Savior.
P.S. – If you want to read the story of Elliot’s namesake, pick up a copy of the book “The Shadow of the Almighty” by Elisabeth and Jim Elliot
Please make plans to join us on Saturday,February 4,2023, at Lake Jackson in Florala,Al,where we will be supporting Elliot and our other 8 chosen recipients.
Good morning! Let’s meet Cancer Freeze 2023 recipient #7. Below is Curtis’s Story:
I am Curtis Mitchell , age 40, from Florala, AL. I have recently been diagnosed with Esophagus Cancer.
Me and my wife Amanda have been married for 9 years. We have two children , Curtis II (13) and Lynnley (
For the last decade I’ve had problems with food getting lodged while eating. Different test over the past few years have all came back within normal limits. Over the last few months the issues arose again. The ability to swallow and eat was becoming increasingly difficult and I began to lose weight rapidly. Again, I went to the doctor. Another EGD was performed 9/21/22 and on 9/28/22 we were told the results came back positive for cancer. Immediately CT Scans, PET Scans, and other test were ordered. On 10/13/22 we went to UAB and it was confirmed to be Adenocarcinoma Esophageal Cancer. On 10/24/22 the results of the PET scan showed the cancer was contained only to my esophagus.
On 10/26/2022 we began the journey to MD Anderson in Houston. My wife and I spent our 9th wedding anniversary 10/27/2022 meeting with doctors and having more test/procedures done. MD Anderson was able to perform a biopsy of the lymph nodes close to my esophagus that weren’t able to be done elsewhere. When those results came back the lymph nodes under the clavical bone came back positive for cancer so the surgeon at MD Anderson went in and removed that cluster of lymph nodes.
The treatment plan we are doing right now will be 4 rounds of chemo. The 4th round is scheduled for 12/27/22. After that I will have another Pet Scan and then the next step of treatment will be determined.
We want everyone to know we have felt so loved by our friends and this wonderful community. My strength comes from the Lord and he will be glorified throughout my journey.
Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us on Saturday, February 4,2023, at Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be “FREEZIN” for Curtis and our 8 other chosen recipients!
Good morning. Let’s meet Cancer Freeze 2023 recipient #6.
I am Jessica Gentry, 49 years old from Holmes County, Florida.I was first diagnosed with stage III melanoma in September of 2009. I went to see a dermatologist after I had scratched a small mole on my back that would not stop bleeding. He sent it for a biopsy and called me 2 days later at work and said the biopsy results came back as positive for melanoma. By December I had a resection of the primary tumor on my back and the lymph nodes removed from my underarm. Most of the lymph modes were also positive for melanoma. In January of 2010 I had a port placed in my chest and began my 1st round of interferon immunotherapy every day for two weeks at the doctors office. After that I had 2 injections each week for 12 months administered at home.
Everything went well and there was no sign of disease for the next few years.
Fast forward to September 2, 2022. I had not been feeling well the night before and my 19 year old son, Parker, came over to check on me in the morning. I don’t remember this next part. Within 15 minutes of him leaving he told me I called him and said I needed to go to the hospital. Due to my symptoms and lack of reaponse, I ended up being flown to Southeast Health in Alabama. Scans showed a tumor on my spine and multiple tumors on my lung.
The spinal tumor was removed and determined to be benign and unrelated to melanoma. A lung biopsy was performed and was positive for metastatic melanoma. My new diagnosis is stage IV metastatic pulmonary melanoma.
I made the decision to see my oncologist in South Florida under the supervision of Moffitt Cancer Center. My 13 year old son, John, and I are staying with family during my treatments. I start an immunotherapy drug combo treatment on December 8.
My family and friends have been the driving force for me to defeat this beast again. Over the last few months, my work family has helped me rise up and realize what a strong, optimistic, and relentless person I am. I love you all!
Please mark your calendars & make plans to join us on Saturday, February 4,2023, at Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be supporting Jessica and our other 8 recipients for CF23. She spends her days faithfully protecting the citizens of Holmes County Florida, let’s show her & her boys our love and support as she kicks Cancer to the curb once again.
Introducing Cancer Freeze recipient #5 for 2023 is this precious angel. She is our youngest recipient for 2023.
My name is Mionni Versilya-Ann Daniels born on September 29, 2021. For about a month, starting in August 2022, I had been having to go to the doctor due to having blood in my diaper. I was told that I was only having an UTI at first. The doctors even did ultrasounds of some of my organs. Fast forward to September 1st, 2022, I suffered from what they call a Febrile Seizure (a seizure from a very high temp). My mom took me to the local hospital, and of course, they sent me home saying it was just a fever (knowing about the blood in my diapers). So, mom and dad, decided it best for me to go with to Sacred Heart, and get a 2nd opinion! They decided to admit me so that they could perform a small procedure. They were looking for a foreign object or a tear in my vaginal canal. (like from a toy) After the procedure the doctors told my mom that they didn’t find any tears, but they did find a mass that was more than likely malignant in my vaginal canal. (Everything happened so fast!) So now they had to do more bloodwork and a MRI. After imaging came back, they saw that the mass started outside my uterus. The best part though was that the mass was not affecting any other organs. (Thank God!) The doctors needed another sample to send off to be sure what exactly it was and where it came from, and the best treatment plan for me! So, I had another biopsy, and they also put in a central port so I can get all my blood work and chemotherapy done through it. On September 12th, the results came back, and I was diagnosed with a rare Yolk Sac Tumor. I started my first chemotherapy session on late September 13th/ early September 14th. The treatments are given over 5 days and 1 day for recovery every 3 weeks! This is a new lifestyle and journey, but I am resilient. I can’t wait to go home during my 3 weeks (tomorrow as long as I’m still acting like normal me.
I have done phenomenal says all the doctors and nurses! My spirits have remained high, and I still act as if nothing is wrong.
Join us 2-4-23 for Cancer Freeze yr #17! Florala, Al~Lake Jackson
Good morning! Let’s meet Cancer Freeze 2023 recipient #4 today.
I’m Sabrina Carmical, age 32, I am on my journey with triple negative breast cancer.
I have been married to the love of my life Trey for 11 years. We have two amazing boys, Conor 11, and Porter 8.
Little did I know the night of May 15 would turn my world upside down. I found a lump in my breast. I called my doctor, he was truly amazing, and got an appointment on May 19. I will never forget the look on his face when he examined me. He quickly scheduled me for a mammogram and ultrasound. I got a call that afternoon that I need to see a surgeon. I then had a biopsy done. Within a few days, my primary care doctor called and said to come in asap, he had my results. I had two nurses waiting on me when we arrived. We sat down and the doctor walked in. He said he had my biopsy results, and I had, Invasive ductal carcinoma triple negative. I said I wanted to go to UAB, he then gave Trey and I some time alone and started making phone calls. We both looked at each other and said, we were going to get through this. The doctor came back in, and said UAB will be calling you soon. I got in the next week and met my new team of remarkable doctors. We got a plan and the next week I went back for testing and my port to be placed. The port would be the worst thing I have ever had to do , unfortunately, I would eventually have to have another port placed, due to rejection of the first one. I met some awesome nurses and can’t wait to show them I won. The next week I was scheduled for chemo July 21. The nurse called and said there was a change of plans, I would be doing all my chemo in Destin. Me being so young, they didn’t think it would be good for me to drive back and forth every week. I met with a new oncologist that was going to do my chemo, and so it began.
I started my fight on July 28, 2022.
I was welcomed by a sweet nurse at the door. She walked me to my chair as she went over ever little detail. I started the chemo, asking God to give me strength. Every Thursday thereafter I continued my chemo, and it lasted for 12 weeks. On Oct 12, 2022, I finished my last treatment.
I then returned to UAB were I met with my team of doctors. I had my mammogram and ultrasound and both showed the tumor had shrunk significantly. We were relieved but at that point my doctors felt more chemo still was needed. They created a new plan which would consist of 4 rounds every 21 days. Nov 1, 2022 I started my next round of chemo (the Red Devil treatment) I had my second round on November 22 and I have 2 rounds left. The plan is to have a double mastectomy on Jan 31st, followed by radiation.
Cancer can be very overwhelming, and we appreciate the prayers and love we have received during this journey. God
has truly walked us through each day, and continues answering our prayers. We are blessed to have the support of so many. I am fighting, I will be a survivor, my journey is not done.
Please mark you calendars and make plans to join us on Saturday, February 4,2023, at Lake Jackson in Florala, Al, where we’ll be “freezin” for Sabrina and our other 8 families for CF23.
Recipients #2 & 3
Good morning Facebook friends & family. Today we are sharing recipients #2 & #3 because these two handsome fellas are brothers. Yes, you read that correctly, two brothers have been diagnosed and fighting cancer within just a couple of weeks of each other. This is PJ (left) & Dylan (right) from Geneva, Al. Below are their stories:
This is Parker Key but most of you know him as “PJ”. He is a super funny, caring, and active 11 year old boy from Geneva, Alabama. Several years ago, we noticed a swollen lymph node right under his jawline on the left side. We contacted our local ENT and made an appointment to be seen. The ENT ran several tests and even did a needle biopsy which all tests came back normal, and the needle biopsy was benign. Time went by and we realized that the lymph not was not shrinking and in fact looked larger. At that point we decided to contact another ENT in Dothan to get a second opinion. PJ started being seen in Dothan in July of 2022. He underwent the same testing as he did at the first ENT to include a CT and another needle biopsy. The last week of August we all went in to see the doctor and discuss the results of the needle biopsy. We were all on edge as we were worried, she had found something. We came in and she gave us the wonderful news that it came back benign. We discussed that the needle biopsy was not 100% effective at diagnosing lymphoma, so we planned for him to have a full biopsy performed on September 7th just to make sure.
He was schedule to come back in on September 15th to get the results of the newest biopsy. On this day at roughly 9 am we received the devastating news that PJ did in fact have cancer. We felt our world collapsing around us, but we turned to our faith immediately to get us through this. Our pastor immediately met us and prayed over us. When we left, we were still overwhelmed but filled with a sense of peace that God was leading us through this, and we would be ok. The ENT immediately set us up an appointment with Dr Ana Xavier at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL. We went to see Dr. Xavier on September 22nd where he had his first pet scan. She had the pathology report sent to her from Dothan, but Children’s had to perform their own pathology report to confirm his diagnosis. After he had his PET scan she gave us his preliminary diagnosis which was Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 2A. The new pathology report was completed and confirmed his diagnosis. She told us that his treatment plan would consist of three 21-day cycles of chemotherapy. On October 6th he had his port placed and began his first round of chemo. As of today, he has completed 2 cycles of chemotherapy and will begin his last cycle on November 21st as long as his lab work stays good in the coming weeks.
Through the past couple of months, we have received overwhelming support from our family, friends, co-workers, and community. Our hearts have been truly touched by each and every one of you that has prayed over our family. God has led us through this journey so far and he will keep leading us. We give him all the glory! Thank you all for your support and keep the prayers coming!
This is Dylan Key, a Junior at Geneva High School in Geneva, AL. He is very athletic and enjoys hunting, fishing, and all outdoor activities. At the very end of June 2022 Dylan contracted Covid-19. In the following weeks he noticed a lymph node at the base of his neck began to swell. It grew to almost the size of a baseball but was not noticeable unless he had his shirt off. We made him an appointment to see an ENT in Dothan to get everything checked. She did a CT and had scheduled a biopsy of his lymph node. On September 15, 2022, Dylan’s younger brother, PJ was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. PJ was now in the care of Dr. Ana Xavier at Children’s hospital in Birmingham, AL. When we met with her, we told her about Dylan’s swollen lymph node. She began asking us several questions about his medical history and we told her that he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 a few months earlier. She said that several of her patients that had covid were experiencing swollen lymph nodes that appeared to be Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We discussed with her our plan to biopsy the lymph node just as we had PJs in Dothan. She wanted us to first bring Dylan in to see her in Birmingham. When we arrived, she did an exam and told us she’d feel better having Dylan’s biopsy performed in Birmingham so we could get the pathology report back faster. She has a good friend that is a surgeon and she called her to come over and see Dylan as well. A game plan was put in place, and on October 10th the biopsy was performed at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. Dylan’s brother PJ was scheduled for Chemo on October 12th and while he was having that done, the doctor pulled us to the side and told us that Dylan also has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Thankfully Dylan was at the hotel with his stepmom, and we were able to collect our thoughts before telling him the news. We had hoped that Dr Xavier was right, and it was just a side effect of Covid, but God had other plans. Dylan had a PET scan and they officially diagnosed him with Non-Bulky Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 2A.
We met again with Dr. Xavier the following week and Dylan had his port placed on October 25, 2022. He received his first dose of Chemo that same day in this hospital. He has a different treatment plan than his brother since they have two different types of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He will complete two 28-day cycles of chemotherapy. He has already completed his first cycle and will start the next one on November 21st. So far, he hasn’t had any extreme side effects from Chemo. He is hoping that continues so he can harvest a big buck this hunting season. He is such a big hunter, the surgeon granted his request and put his port on his left side so he could still hunt this year. We are blessed to have two strong boys that are fighting through this and will come out stronger on the other side. God has given them the opportunity to have an amazing testimony to share with others. We thank you all again for the continued support and prayers. We feel them each and every day!
PLEASE mark your calendars and make plans to join us on Saturday, February 4,2023, where we’ll be “freezin” for these 2 guys along with our other chosen recipients at Cancer Freeze 2023 at Lake Jackson in Florala, AL.
Today let’s meet #1 of 9, Correy Bozeman from Luverne, AL
Correy’s story began in early September of 2020 when he started complaining of back pain. He was 2 months shy of turning 8 years old. His complaints were not consistent and his pain didn’t seem to be severe when it first started. After about a week, with complaints of ailments being out of character for him, we took him to his pediatrician’s office. After an x-ray, it was diagnosed as muscle spasms. However, over the next 2 weeks that would all change. His pain became more severe and got to the point that over the counter medicine was not helping it. He was also in constant pain. When he started having trouble standing and walking, we knew something wasn’t right. On Monday September 21, Correy woke up unable to walk without support. Being the hardheaded trooper he is, he begged to go to school. Against our better judgement and with mom being a teacher at the school we let him go until we could make contact with his pediatrician. We took him to the ER at Children’s in Birmingham per the advice of his pediatrician. We quickly learned that he had a mass near his spine which was causing his problems. At 7pm that evening Correy underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumor and they got it all out but told us that they had never seen anything like it in the back region. His tumor was one that was typically seen in the abdomen. However, he had no evidence of having tumors anywhere else. Within the next few weeks, we would learn that it was cancer but no one could give it a name. The pathology results were inconclusive and could not provide a definite name for it. As the doctor told us, “We know it is a fruit. We know it is a melon. We just can’t say what type of melon it is.”
After several weeks of planning, Correy underwent 6 weeks of proton radiation to the spine from November into December 2020. He did excellent with this treatment. During this time, we had genetic testing done. The tests revealed that he has Dicer-1 Syndrome which makes him more likely to have certain types of cancers and tumors. This combined with the facts that his cancer is aggressive and they have no idea what type of cancer it is puts his prognosis as very concerning.
In January of 2021, he had his first set of post treatment scans. The tumor board and top specialists from all over the US agreed that he was in remission. The scans looked great. We went back to our new “normal” life with the plans to have follow-up scans every 3 months.
In April, 2 weeks before his scheduled follow-up scans, he started complaining of his legs hurting. He said it was different from before. He described it as his bones breaking. We called our oncologist and she got us in for an MRI the next day. A few hours later, we were asked to come into the conference room. These are words you never want to hear from doctors. There stood our neurosurgeon, palliative care doctor, and oncologist. They told us that his tumor had returned in a different spot and he also had 3 other spots on his spine. Two days later, on April 24th, Correy underwent another surgery to remove the largest one as well as place his chest port. Three weeks later he started chemotherapy. Since they don’t know what type of cancer he has, they decided to put him on the hardest hitting chemotherapy regimen they had for brain and spinal tumors. They gave us this warning ahead of time. Our goal is that he will have more good days than bad days but this is going to be hard and tough. He had treatments for 3 days every 28 days. He was usually sick for 3 to 4 days after treatment so we ended up staying about a week in the hospital. During his second round of treatment, he developed neurotoxicity to one of the chemo drugs. He was so sick and couldn’t control his body. After he recovered from this, we decided to change up the drug regimen so that it wouldn’t happen again.
We were scheduled to have 6 rounds of treatment. After his 3rd round in July, we were told that his little body couldn’t withstand another round. The next best option was to undergo proton radiation for the brain and spine. We started another six weeks of proton radiation in August and September of 2021.
In November of 2021, we were told that the radiation had not had the success that we had hoped for. We were told at that time that our options were very limited because there was very little left that we had not already tried. We were also prepared for the worst because the “sugar coating type” tumors on his spine are “virtually impossible to get rid of”. His oncologist suggested that we consider inserting a port into an artery in his head. This would allow them to administer a new chemo straight to his central nervous system enabling us to avoid many of the side effects. Since Correy’s body has not tolerated chemo well, this was good news for us. We agreed and they started a new chemo regimen in which he got his port in his accessed twice a week for chemo and then received chemo via a lumbar puncture once a week. This regimen continued until Christmas of 2021.
In February 2022, Correy had a scheduled MRI and it revealed that one of the tumors was starting to grow around his spine. So, we changed chemo regimens again and we were set up for another 5 weeks of radiation. The radiation-oncologist told us that he could not give us any data in regards to the effects of this much radiation because it is very rare to have this many rounds. He did say the normal radiation risks were multiplied significantly.
In May, we had another follow-up MRI and the results showed NO tumors. EVERYTHING was gone! Praise God!! Even the very tiny ones that they said would be so hard to remove. As you can imagine, this was the best news ever. We had received our miracle. The doctors started him on a maintenance chemo plan and we were accepted in a clinical drug trial in North Carolina.
In June, we started our drug trial. During this time, Correy started having symptoms of Radiation Necrosis. He was having bowel and bladder accidents and had weakness in his left leg. These symptoms would come and go so we watched them. In July, we had an unexpected MRI to make sure nothing had returned and everything was still clear.
In September, traveled back to NC for our last 3 month MRI and followup with the trial doctors. This is where our world crumbled once again. We were told that a new tumor had developed at the base of his spine. All of his other tumors were in the upper part of his spine. He also had more sugar coating, in a different part of his spine. We were released from the clinical trial because his disease had progressed and sent home.
We met with our primary oncologist the following week and expected slightly better news. However, she gave us the same news and talked with us about when it was time to stop treatment. We agreed to continue as long as he was not in severe pain and had a quality of life. We started our 4th different chemo regimen and his team started looking for new clinical trials. However, they warned us that they didn’t feel like he would qualify for most of them, if any even existed for him.
Since then, Correy’s condition has regressed rapidly. He has lost most of his ability to walk. He can walk short distances with his walker but requires his wheelchair for longer distances. His right leg has started collapsing with him as well which makes him fall without notice. He is currently receiving chemo at home and then he goes every other week for chemo in Birmingham.
We have big hopes for a clinical trial in Seattle, WA. We are currently awaiting test results from his tumor to see if he qualifies. There is also another trial in New York that might be an option.
Through all of this, one thing is for sure. Correy is a resilient, brave, and determined boy. He never gives up and faces everything head on with a big smile. To know Correy is to love him. He loves Transformers, Yoda, Legos, Alabama Football, the Luverne Tigers, his family, and God. He knows that God is taking care of him and has control of this. We know that nothing surprises God and that He is working everything out for His Glory.
Please mark your calendars and make plans to join us on Saturday, February 4,2023, in Florala, Al, at Lake Jackson, where we’ll be “freezin” for Correy and our other 8 chosen families for Cancer Freeze 2023! Above all, please add these families to your prayers. Thank you and God bless.