The Courage of a Mother


As you all know, some of the most fulfilling work that we do at Unruh Furniture is through our Mom Fund which provides dining tables and additional financial support for single mothers in need. Tina Regier, who has taught 2nd grade for 24 years, received her completed table June 29th, 2018. This is her courageous story in her own words.

Tina & Tyler's Story

When Tyler, my only child, was 2 1/2, he started getting severe leg pains at night. At that time, my husband and I thought it must be growing pains. But then, he began to develop strange bruises on his forehead, along his spine, in places that didn't make sense. Soon, he had an ear infection that just would not heal, even after two rounds of antibiotics. I took him to the pediatrician. After a blood test, the pediatrician sent us to Children's Mercy South for additional testing. An hour and a half later, we were told to go to Children’s Mercy Hospital downtown.

It was May 2015, and Tyler was diagnosed with very high-risk leukemia. After several phases of treatment, he still had not reached remission. So, we began a search for a bone marrow donor. In January of 2016, Tyler had his transplant.

 

- This is Tyler and I before the transplant when the massive chemo had taken all his hair.

 

We were told that most transplant patients remain in inpatient care for at least 100 days. Once I found out that Tyler would be getting a nasogastric tube to deliver his nutrition, I began feverishly researching the types of food he would receive. The leading brand seemed to be mainly composed of high fructose corn syrup and other awful ingredients.

My baby deserved better. I started searching for organic feeding tube formulas. I searched relentlessly only to learn that, at that time, there were none for kids. Still, I kept on searching until I found a meal replacement formula called Liquid Hope - Basic Nutritionals; however, it was designed for adults.

I had to jump through hoops to get it approved. The nutritionist at the hospital and I found a way to add a few safe ingredients to it to make it the right combination for a child as small as Tyler.

Insurance would not cover it, so I had to pay for it all out of pocket. Family and friends also donated money to help with the huge costs. Tyler began recovering really well. Though he had some issues with his skin, he healed so much faster than expected! We got to go home 21 days after his bone marrow transplant. We still had to keep him in isolation at home, but we got to leave the hospital at the end of January! I took the entire third quarter off from teaching (January to March) to stay home and care for Tyler.

 

That spring I went in for a routine mammogram. Doctors told me that they found some small, pinpoint sized markings on one of my breasts. After another biopsy and more 3D imaging, we learned I had breast cancer. Having seen how awful chemotherapy and radiation had been for Tyler, I opted to have a mastectomy. I just wanted to get rid of the cancer. I refused to get back on that same roller coaster.

The hardest part of the cancer journey is the lack of control I felt. As a mom, I wanted to fix it for my son. I struggled with depression and anxiety because I didn't know if Tyler would live. The turning point happened the day my therapist told me that I had to focus on what I could control.

So I did. I was definitely a momma bear, and I fought for my child. I did all I could to make sure he had his organic feeding tube formula. I found a special mouthwash to prevent mucositis, even though that medicine was also only meant for adults. While he was still in inpatient care, I cooked all of his organic food from scratch once he could eat solid food again. I diffused essential oils in his hospital room and rubbed oils on his feet. If I didn't keep myself busy doing every single thing I could do to help and comfort him, I would have lost my mind. Though I didn't have a choice as to whether or not they put toxic chemo into my son, I did have a choice as to how I could help him get through the adverse affects.

I just have so many emotions about it all. But, the thing that got me through both bouts with Cancer—my son’s and my own—was understanding that all of it was ultimately out of my hands. It was true then and it’s still true now: I can only control what I am able to control. The rest is in God's hands. That's a tough truth to live by. I have to remind myself constantly to trust and try and let go. It's hard but that's the only option.

I am so very thankful that both Tyler and I are currently doing well and are in remission. It is a huge blessing. We just keep praying for continued healing. And that God keeps sending us more blessings, like this table. It is amazing how helping hands can appear during horrible hardship.

Thank you,
Tina

Get Involved

If you know of a single mom in need, please fill out a nomination form so they have the opportunity to be a part of our Mom Fund initiative. If you want to join the initiative and help care for single moms in the area, you can also purchase a #MomFund shirt. You can do both on our #MomFund page.

Images By:Hope Kids and Tina

By Jermaine Thompson

Jermaine moved to KCMO from rural Mississippi in 2015 for an MFA in Poetry. He's staying for the jazz and the barbecue. He credits his love of language to Friday night fish fries and Sunday morning sermons.