By Todd Newville
Imagine a young, 7-year-old boy going to bed one night in the presence of his loving mother, his father, and his two åçyoungeråçsisters.
All seems fine for a while. Suddenly, the little guy, Easton, wakes up crying and goes into his parents’ bedroom with a severe headache and vomiting. Ashley Carpenter, 29, absolutely had no clue as to what to do.
But, she and her husband, Chris (30), rounded Easton up and quickly took him to the emergency room at St. Anthony’s Hospital on S.W. 134th Street and I-44 in Oklahoma City. From there, he was transported to the OU Medical Center on N.E. 13th Street in Oklahoma City.
“On May 1, we took him to the emergency room,” Ashley Carpenter said. “They found a mass on his brain. At that point, we didn’t know what it was. But, we found out it was a tumor on his brain after a week in the hospital. He was going to need surgery for a medulloblastoma – the size of a small orange to a tennis ball-sized tumor on his brain.”
Since then, all summer and vacation plans have been put on hold for this family. Easton’s sisters (Olivia, 6, and Emelyn, 3) are also part of his supporting plan.
“He had it removed on May 8 and we got home with him a week after that,” Ashlyn said. “He started radiation on May 28 and we did that for six weeks from Monday through Friday. We just finished with that (on Tuesday, July 24.) He did those daily until last week.”
Easton is a very strong boy. But, one can certainly tell that such treatment would take its toll on such a young and vibrant soul.
“He definitely has his ups and downs,” Ashlyn said. “Right now, it’s not too bad. Some days, he’s all smiles and laughs. Other days, he’s down – like (Monday) when I had to drag him to PT (physical therapy.) He’s throws fits every now and then because he has so many doctor appointments that he doesn’t want to go to anymore.
“For the most part, those days come in waves of hours. He’ll be sick but then he will start to feel a little better. He’s a fighter, for sure. He’s on a four-week break right now where he doesn’t have anything to take – no chemotherapy and no drugs at all. They just don’t like to do the chemotherapy right after radiation.”
The process of going through cancer treatment for such a little guy as Easton is tremendous. Right now, Easton is on a short break. But, coming up in August, he is in for a rough ride. It will be nine straight weeks and 11 months of chemotherapy.
“On Aug. 23, he will go for his first full, intense round of chemotherapy,” Ashley said. “It will be overnight in the hospital for nine rounds – rounds of AAB, AAB, and AAB. For every A week, it will be six weeks long. For every B week, it will be four weeks long. In all, he’ll be doing chemotherapy for 11 months.
“The first week, he will get a ‘cocktail’ of several medications. He’ll stay overnight and then he’ll get to go home the next day. He won’t have to go back until the next week. Then, he’ll get another injection of the low-dose drugs the next week – and so on. It’s a really trying process.”
Easton is a very strong boy – physically and mentally. But, with such a devastating diagnosis at such a young age, the young man has certainly gone through his trials and tribulations.
“The first month after he was diagnosed was the hardest,” Ashley said. “He really didn’t understand it. He had a lot of days where he cried and kept saying over and over ‘I don’t want to have cancer!’ He went from walking with everybody to walking by himself because he was so distraught.
“He has been walking by himself since the end of June a little bit. But, for the most part, he forgot how to walk and talk. He still is unstable on his feet and needs help talking. He’s very wobbly and stuff but he’s just seven and he’s starting to understand how it is. He just doesn’t want to get stuck anymore by needles. It’s very hard for him.”
The Carpenters have a “GoFundMe” page set up under Easton’s name (https://www.gofundme.com/eastons-brain-tumor-battle.) The family is eager to see that his health is taken care of. As of July 31, the page has generated $4,875 of the family’s $10,000 goal.
“Hopefully, when we have to be at the hospital, we just hope to be able to pay the bills and afford the drives back and forth,” Ashley said. “We don’t want to have to worry about spending time with our two girls when one of us is up there at the hospital with Easton.”