Most of you know James “Amo” Bennett, a fellow Parrot Head Phriend with the North Coast Parrot Head Club, and Island Time Radio show co-host, but you might not know the struggles he is going through. His son James Jr. who is now 13 years old, has leukemia and has been treated for over 5 months for the cancer and is waiting for a Bone Marrow Transplant. James Jr. has been in & out of Akron’s Children’s Hospital for 5 months now.
A few days prior to the transplant, James received 3 days (2 sessions a day) of radiation at the Cleveland Clinic. They sectioned off his vital organs, then scanned him (radiation) for roughly 20 minutes. Being weak from all the treatments, this was a difficult task, because you have to stand during the process he had done. He has been a trooper through all this.
James received his bone marrow transplant on October 5th, 2011. The transplant went as expected. (A quick note: the transplant takes place by an I.V. drip through a port in his chest) There can be numerous side affects, including – graft-vs-host disease (GvHD), graft rejection, bacterial infections, fungal infections, viral infections, gastrointestinal and hepatic complications, neurologic complications, pulmonary complications, and late effects after stem cell transplant.
James has seen some side affects, but nothing life concerning. Loss of appetite, raw throat,sores, hair loss, rashes, lack of sleep, weakening of the muscles, ect …… the list goes on and on.
Did you know – there are over 10,000 people currently waiting for a bone marrow transplant, and half will be lucky enough to find a match. Here is where you can help – Marrow.org
Post transplant hospital stay – After the transplant is performed, James has to stay in the hospital for roughly 30 days – currently, he is still in the hospital. Proposed release date will be next week sometime, (postponed once already) barring any more complications.
When we talk about staying in the hospital, we mean, isolated in a hospital room, (not allowed to leave the room – germ and infection issues), limited visitors, and overnight stays by Amo, and daily visits by his mother.
The daily routine consists of, but not limited to, shots, many oral pills, more IV pumps then anyone has ever seen (see below) OT, PT, homework, and a lot of Family Guy.
The room temperature is set at a cool 55 degrees. Mainly, James likes it that way, as he said, “I will be ready for winter by the time I get out of here.” His spirits were good, but are slowly dwindling, as he thinks he will be in there forever. He spent his 14th Birthday in the hospital, as well as Halloween. The rough part about it is, he can not receive gifts to the hospital, (again, the germ issue)
Next week he will undergo another surgery to remove his C-line (a tube in his chest) and will get another spinal tap, to check his marrow. Fingers crossed.
Post hospital – This will involve weekly check ups, and bi weekly check ups. He will be isolated at home for a few months, except for doctor visits. The diet will be changed, and learning to do some things over again (walking) will be a task in its own.
If anyone is interested in sending a get well card, you can ask for the address at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (put James in the Subject line)
We would like to take a moment and thank everyone who has kept James and his family in their prayers, and to all the well wishes.