Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We had a great Christmas day with the family. Santa brought Taylor a knit hat with an attached beard! These are all the rage right now, if you didn't know. Who needs hair when you can knit some! Taylor's brother Sammy got a Go-Cart so everyone zoomed around the hood all day, including Taylor. 
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We were so thankful to be together as a family. 
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Big week at Brooks!

Taylor has had a very productive week at Brooks! He has learned how to stand and he's been taking steps using parallel bars. He pedaled 5 miles/40 minutes on a special stimulator bike. And of course, he's been practicing the ever popular wheelies. Brooks said he's a model patient and that he needs to move to outpatient therapy in Orlando. The therapists said they want to see him WALK in the door next time he visits Brooks.  Thought we'd share a few of his accomplishments here.
video

video

Taylor will be heading home on the 23rd to spend a very Merry Christmas with the family.

Happy Holidays everybody!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Even Legomen are Praying for Taylor!

Taylor's 6 year old cousin, Jackson, likes to bring him presents all the time to "help him get better", as he says. Jackson has painted a Gator themed Nutcracker for Taylor, he's given Taylor a picture of himself with the Chick-fil-a Santa Cow and he brought Taylor a Gator Pillow-Pet. Jackson also likes to make Lego creations for Taylor. His latest is this church.
...and inside the church are all the Legmen praying for Taylor to get better.

Hope you'll keep Taylor in your prayers too!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

PROGRESS!

Taylor and his parents just arrived back at Arnold Palmer Hospital from Brooks Pediatric Rehab Center yesterday just in time for his next chemo treatment. Taylor spent a week at Brooks doing intensive Physical and Occupational Therapy. The great news is, he's making progress!

Have a look!


LATEST SCHEDULE: 


  • 12/9-11   Chemo Treatment
  • 12/12       Taylor is tentatively scheduled to go home for a few days
  • 12/16       Back to Arnold Palmer for another Chemo treatment
  • 12/17-23 Brooks Pediatric Rehab in Jacksonville
  • 12/23       Home for Christmas!
  • 12/26-30 Arnold Palmer for next Chemo treatment
We welcome visitors and well wishers! Thanks so much for all your support! Taylor is definitely on the road to recovery!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The DNA Project


Aunt Melanie here— Taylor's brothers, Spencer and Sammy, came over to my house for dinner tonight along with my parents. We put up our Christmas tree (tree only— no lights or ornaments yet) and ate Take-out from Oh Boy's BBQ under the flickering light in my dining room (I've got to get that dimmer fixed). Anyway, before dinner while laying on the couch watching ESPN, eating the last of a box of Cheez-its and gulping down a bottle of Arnold Palmer Iced Tea, Spencer asked me if I could help him make a DNA model for his Science class. I said, "Sure! When's it due?" His response without taking his eyes off the TV, "Tomorrow."  
Well lucky for him, I love a spontaneous craft project! I swept Spencer out to my studio and immediately put him to work (but not before we turned on ESPN). Who'd a thought Spencer would have a knack for string art? The boy's a natural! He just needed a little guidance and he was stringing away in no time. He said he felt like he was a Dentist flossing teeth.
The finished piece— Magnifico!
Next he'll be knitting sweaters!
Just in case you want to make your own String Art DNA strand... 
Materials used:
  • Piece of Cork (we covered it with felt because the cork had a big gash in it.)
  • Stainless Steel straight pins 
  • Embroidery Thread in multiple colors
  • Duct Tape to frame the work of art (optional)

And for those of you who think this work of art looks like a Roller Coaster, here's a simple definition of DNA: 
DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic acid: an extremely long macromolecule that is the main component of chromosomes and is the material that transfers genetic characteristics in all life forms, constructed of two nucleotide strands coiled around each other in a ladder-like arrangement with the sidepieces composed of alternating phosphate and deoxyribose units and the rungs composed of the purine and pyrimidine bases adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine: the genetic information of DNA is encoded in the sequence of the bases and is transcribed as the strands unwind and replicate. 
For more basic info you can check out DNA for Dummies
And just in case you were wondering...
What causes Ewing Sarcoma? Exactly what triggers Ewing sarcoma is not known. But we do know that cancer cells in Ewing Sarcoma almost always have a specific chromosomal abnormality causing normal cells to grow out of control. It is important to know that this chromosomal abnormality is not something a child inherits; it seems to be an "accident" that occurs in a cell sometime after birth. Often, the sarcoma cells are tested for this particular chromosomal abnormality, providing a tool that confirms the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma. (source: Comer Children's Hospital, The University of Chicago)
Ok, I'm gonna go brush, floss and hit the hay. Good night everybody!
Aunt Melanie

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Full Day of Therapy at Brooks


TAYLOR HAD HIS FIRST BUSY DAY OF THERAPY TODAY. Three hours of mostly showing off to the Physical Therapist!  His blood counts are low right now because of the chemo treatments. We are all wearing masks and washing our hands a lot. The counts should recover in a few days.  We're all going to sleep well tonight! Ready for another busy day tomorrow!

Love to all!
Melissa




Chillin' after a hard day.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We are at Brooks in Jacksonville!

 We arrived at Brooks Pediatric Rehab Center Thursday (12/01) and we're ready to work!

But first, we need to catch up on the news...

FLORIDA TIMES UNION: East Ridge (Clermont) vs. First Coast (Jacksonville) for the Class 7A Regional Finals TONIGHT AT 7:30pm. 

GO KNIGHTS!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Music is good for the soul!

Guitar Lesson #1 
Guitar Lesson #2

Ever since Taylor bought Mr. Gorey's guitar at the Magnolia Bay Garage Sale a few years back, he's been meaning to take guitar lessons but never found the time. Well, now's that time! Molly, the music therapist at Arnold Palmer, offered to teach him. They are collaborating on the song, "I pray for you" by Eric Church. How cool is that? Stay tuned for upcoming concerts!!

CHEMO UPDATE: Taylor just finished his second round of chemo (11/28)—a five day session. He's feeling very tired and not very hungry, but hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Melissa, Brad and Taylor will be heading to Brookes Pediatric Rehab Hospital in Jacksonville on Wednesday (11/30) for some intense Physical Therapy. The plan is to be there for 7-14 days.



Friday, November 25, 2011

Bald is Beautiful Baby!

The hair came off today! Both Taylor AND Dad took it all off! Woohoo! Taylor got the ball rolling on Thanksgiving when he shaved his beard off. Then bright and early this morning, our good friend Michelle Bates made a house call...errr  a hospital call and shaved the old noggins! Be sure to rub their heads and make a wish the next time you see them.
 Love that look!
Is he the coolest Dad on the planet or what?


That's a nice look for you Taylor. Bald is beautiful baby! Bald is Beautiful!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We are so thankful!

Sorry we haven't posted in a while. We were so happy to have Taylor home as of last Wednesday. Just as he was settling in,  on Saturday night Melissa and Brad had to take Taylor back to Arnold Palmer due to some side effects from the chemo and his spinal injury. He's been there ever since and will start his next round of chemo tomorrow (Friday)— a five day session.  BUT, today, on this most thankful day, he was able to join us for a family celebration at home. The hospital gave him a six hour pass. He's due back by 8:30 tonight. We are all enjoying having him home:) He's in good spirits! His neighborhood friends are showing up in droves. He's even putting up with his brothers and getting a hoot out of his cousins' antics.
 The cousins.
 Taylor preferred whipped cream over apple pie for desert.
 From left to right: Spencer, Taylor, Melissa Worley, Alex Manganello, Veronica and Lauren Hebeler, Gian Carlo and Tony Manganello.
The Hebelers, wonderful friends of the Becorests, brought Taylor "Lourdes Water" from France to wash Taylor's legs. They told us to pour it on Taylor's legs and say the Hail Mary. So we did.

Lourdes water is water that flows from a spring in the Grotto of Massabielle in the Santcuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, France. Thousands of pilgrams have followed the instruction of Our Lady of Lourdes to "drink at the spring and wash in it" so that they can be cured. Lourdes water is not considered holy water, but rather ordinary water taken from a sacred spring.


We are very thankful for our family and friends. Each day we count our blessings for so many people who are willing to help and support Taylor.  It is an experience in life like this when you learn how important friends and family truly are. God bless everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving and please keep praying,

Love from the "Dunn" family

Friday, November 18, 2011

District Semi-Finals: East Ridge 21 / Oviedo 18

The East Ridge High play-off game tonight was a pure adrenaline rush, come-from-behind, thriller! Pop-Pop, Melissa and I went out on the field to congratulate Spencer and here's what good old Coach O had to say...
Thanks Coach! And thanks for the great effort East Ridge Football Team!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Home at Last! Home at Last! Taylor B is Home at Last!"

Today Taylor's journey moved onto the main road to recovery.  Taylor arrived home at 5:30 PM.  He hasn't stopped smiling!!  This is one time we can say "Change is Good".  Sammy decorated for his big brother's welcome home by designing a poster on the computer and then had Pop-Pop take him to Office Depot to print it.  Even Jack ( "the over excitable Lab") was happy to see Taylor and Melissa drive into the driveway. Spencer "drove" the wheelchair all around the house to make sure there wouldn't be any obstacles in Taylor's way.  It's been a fun and busy evening for all the family.  Best of all everyone has relaxed a bit.  Attached are some pictures from this evenings activities.






Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bracelets — A Way to Show Our Support!


Our dear friends, the Thurstons, ordered orange and blue (Gator) bracelets customized with the message,  

"Joshua 1:9 TWB" 

on them. (CLICK HERE to read this bible verse that has become one of our favorites.) We've all been wearing them to show our support for Taylor and have vowed to keep wearing them until Taylor finishes his last chemo treatment and walks again:) 

Sammy (youngest bro) came home from school two weeks ago and asked us for some poster board. We found him some and didn't think much of it because we were all busy. Then a while later he came out of his bedroom with this poster.

Sammy proudly announced that he had a meeting with the Principal at his school, St. Andrew, that day to ask if he could sell the bracelets to his classmates to show support for Taylor. Dr. Kiley, the Principal, recommended the $2 price point. When Ya-Ya asked him what he would do with the money he was going to raise, Sammy looked at her as if that was a dumb question! "All the money is going to go to Taylor for stuff he's going to need to get well Ya-Ya!" (Duh) 

 Sammy raised over $215! 
Atta-boy!

And the story doesn't end there! These lovely ladies are relatives on the Dunn side of the family. The Alagoods got the black and gold bracelets (East Ridge High School colors) made with the message, 

"Prayers for Taylor" 

and Spencer can't pass them out fast enough at school. They're a hot commodity, as EVERYBODY wants to show their support for TWB! And it's not just family and friends dawning these bracelets, many of the Arnold Palmer Hospital staff, including Taylor's Oncologist, Dr. Sutphin are wearing them too! We're so thankful for everyone's support. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

On the road home!?!

We question TW's actual arrival home since schedule seems to change everyday!!
Nonetheless, we all proceed with our "To Do List".  So, today, Melissa and Brad met with  Doctors, nurses, therapists and caretakers to start the discharge process and have MANY of their questions answered as to his care at home.  Taylor learned to give himself a shot and did it without a problem!!  His hospital bed was delivered (6p.m.) and installed in his sparkling clean bedroom.  But BEST of ALL - Taylor had his first REAL shower!!!    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting ready for Taylor to come home!

We spent the day preparing for Taylor's homecoming this week. Pulled up the carpet (germs) and replaced it with wood/vinyl flooring; re-hinged the doors and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned! His room sparkles! Can't wait for him to come home. Thanks Steve Holt and Uncle Paul for spearheading the construction for us (although Pop-Pop insists that he did the bulk of the work and the guys were just there for moral support. All righty then.).

Happy to report that Taylor had a good day today. Quite the appetite!

He ate...
for breakfast...


for lunch...


snack...


snack...

for dinner!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Taylor's first day to RECOVERY

Where were you on 11-11-11???

Taylor has begun his journey to recovery.  It was the first day of chemo.  The treatment was to start yesterday (Thursday) but yet again another delay. Although no one looks forward to this type of treatment   Taylor and all of us just wanted to begin moving ahead.  Melissa and Brad have been with him throughout the day.  Cheryl and I have been holding down the home front.  We want Taylor's brothers to continue positively with their lives.  Both of them are real champs and are so proud of their big brother. Melissa will be returning from the hospital shortly and she may have more details to add.  PopPop is just grateful for all the help and many prayers.  We feel the Lord walking beside us in this journey.
Melissa here...Taylor took a well deserved nap this afternoon and is now awake waiting for some dinner. So, Brad went across the street to Winnie Palmer hospital for Women and Babies. I checked out the cafeteria today and it has a WAY better selection. So I'm sure Taylor will be happy! Brad said Taylor is propped up watching the NC basketball game on the aircraft carrier!
More chemo tomorrow, prayers for quiet tummy!
Love to all


Thursday, November 10, 2011

East Ridge High School Football Team playing for "T"


That's Spencer proudly holding his helmet before tonights game against Mount Dora.  Which East Ridge won 42-14!!   All team players are wearing the "T" in support of Taylor.
Chemo wasn't started today but they tell us it will start sometime tomorrow morning.  Taylor along with all of us are READY to get this road trip started!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is Sam (Pop- Pop)  "BLOGGING" (hope this works!!) for TW tonight.
Taylor's MRI was clear today.
He's ready to start chemo tomorrow!
PT going well - was able to move upper quads today.
Learning to transfer from bed to wheelchair. Thank goodness for upper body strength since he's always been a good athlete!
Physical Therapist think he's awesome!! Well, OF COURSE!!!
We THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS.
Keep them coming as each day becomes more important.......... 
Your expressions of SUPPORT for ALL of us are, enormously, uplifting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Six months of Chemo" vs. "Six months of Hot Pockets"

Aunt Melanie here. Like all of you, we've been trying to get our heads around this whole situation with Taylor. It's been a whirlwind for sure. I'm happy to report that his recovery plan is getting underway and he is tentatively scheduled to start his first round of chemo tomorrow (11/10/11). So I was thinking, what could possibly compare to six months of chemo? And then, it hit me. (Pause...wait for it...) Six months of HOT POCKETS! Yes!



Anyone man enough to take on the "Six Months of Hot Pockets" challenge? (Crickets. Crickets.) Ummhm. Exactly as I suspected. Taylor B, you da man!

Hooooooooot Pocket!

"A day without laughter is a day wasted."
Charlie Chaplin





Welcome!


Hi, I'm Taylor's Aunt Melanie and I started this blog to share Taylor's journey to recovery. I personally have been completely amazed and in awe of all the wonderful friends who have come together to support Taylor and his family. His room is constantly filled with visitors from high school, his Youth group, his neighborhood and even his elementary school friends.  Melissa and Brad and our whole family are so humbled by the outpouring of support from all of you. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

This blog will be our hub where you can find the most up to date status on Taylor's progress. Please sign up to receive updates via email. Now, I know, at least for some of you out there, that this blogging thing might be over your head and you don't understand how to set up a Google account so you can make a comment, bla, bla, bla. Well, this is your chance to learn! Get yourself set up! Or better yet, get a teenager to help you! You'll be so glad you did.

Blessings to you all,
Aunt Melanie