Tannar, our eight-year-old, has always been an active, fun-loving boy who is a little rough and tumble. Getting bruises was no new thing for either of our boys! However, after soccer season last fall, we discovered that Tannar was still bruising in the most odd places that we just couldn’t explain- the backs of his arms, thighs, the top of his shoulder, his calves, etc. These bruises were coming with great frequency, and they formed QUICKLY!
After speaking with the school, it was still a mystery as to why Tannar would have these bruises. So, I called his pediatrician, figuring we were probably looking at an iron deficiency or something else that he was most likely “low” on. That was on October 27, 2022.
The next day we went to the pediatrician for labs and a check-up. That evening we got a call from someone at Cincinnati Children’s telling us we needed to come in and be seen in the ER. After a couple of weeks of staying at Children’s for testing and procedures, we were told Tannar had Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). JMML is a rare leukemia that affects young children.
TREATMENT AND A CURE
We were told by his oncologist that the only way to cure this type of leukemia was with a bone marrow transplant. We were so relieved to hear that what Tannar had was treatable and even possibly curable. Tannar was started on chemotherapy that would prepare his body for the transplant that we knew would be coming, and we prayed and prayed hard! Tannar was a champ, doing everything the doctors ordered and recommended with so much grace!
Throughout his whole process, Tannar has been amazing! He has taken everything in stride. The meds, the hospital stays, the multitude of weekly appointments, EVERYTHING. The hardest thing for him is that he has not been able to be with his friends, go swimming, and play sports.
Tannar’s body has responded amazingly well to the treatments. He has had a few (as to be expected) yucky days, and we’ve had some ups and downs emotionally. His brother, Tayton, has helped keep Tannar’s life as normal as possible, being both protective and teasing, allowing Tannar to keep a friend through this all.
The next step for Tannar is a bone marrow transplant. A perfectly matched donor has been found, and we feel so blessed for that! We are in the hospital now, preparing for his bone marrow transplant later this month.
For at least a year after his transplant, Tannar will have many appointments at Children’s. He knows that the transplant isn’t the immediate end of all of this; however, he is still so excited for it to happen. He has made the request that as soon as his CVC line is out and the doctors say it’s okay, he wants to go swimming! He absolutely will be swimming!! It’s amazing to see how resilient and innocent he has remained through this process, even though he has had to “grow up” quickly in so many regards.
A HUGE THANK YOU!
On our first full day at the hospital after diagnosis, on the Hematology/Oncology floor, with my husband and I feeling shocked, helpless, overwhelmed, and quite honestly terrified, a lady walked in with a couple of bags and a blanket. Tannar was sitting on his bed, playing with a video game, after being told he was going to be in the hospital for a long time. The first thing she did was speak to Tannar and say, “Some friends sent some things they wanted me to give to you.” Those friends were the people from Dragonfly! Inside of the bags, which Tannar really enjoyed opening, were toys, a tablet, a water bottle, a fuzzy blanket (which he still uses every trip to the hospital), and other amazing things! There was also a bag of items we, as parents, might and did need while we stayed at the hospital. However, the note in the bag just gave me so much more hope. Essentially it was a “You got this, and we’ve got you.” kind of statement. Dragonfly has had us. Tannar received more welcome gifts after he filled out a quick survey of the things he liked, gifts at Christmas time while in the hospital, and an Amazon gift card, which he used to buy something for his brother.
I know that Dragonfly offers so much more in terms of materialistic items, but the hope and kindness they offer have meant so much to our family. Thank you!!