HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Greyson Stephens celebrated Halloween a week ago. His family knew he would be recovering from surgery Tuesday, so they put on costumes last week.
"Greyson is our real-life superhero," Greyson's mom, named Bekah, said. "So, we dressed as a superhero family."
You have to love that.
We first met Greyson back in March. He is a twin in Hickory and was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in his tongue when he was 7-months-old. One of the first and only cases of such. He and his healthy brother Hunter are now almost 15-months-old.
I get tons and tons of questions about Greyson. Lots of people in the area wondering how he's doing. The latest is that he had intense surgery last Friday where doctors removed half of his tongue.
"The decision to have that surgery was one of the hardest conversations we've had since the initial diagnosis," Greyson's dad, named Kyle, said. "Based on the type of cancer Greyson has, his oncologist felt it was critical to get the entire tumor and leave nothing behind, as this particular type of cancer will come back if anything is left. The surgery was really involved."
After removing half of Greyson's tongue, doctors were originally going to rebuild it with a piece of skin from his wrist. It turns out they could use skin from his shoulder blade and he didn't have to have a skin graft. That is a positive because the skin graft could've been yet another site at risk for infection. Greyson is still in the PICU and it's estimated he'll be in the hospital for the next three weeks.
Kyle said doctors perform this surgery in adults somewhere around 150 times a year but rarely on children and never once on a 1-year-old.
"Most parents want their kids to be the first to do something," Kyle said. "This is not one of those times."
Both Kyle and Bekah say they hate how this is how things have to go but their ultimate goal is to find a cure for Greyson and get him healthy. They know this surgery means months – maybe years – of therapy – but they say they'll do what needs to be done to get him cancer-free.
"We have confidence in our surgeons and are praying vigorously for the best outcome," they said.
And, it seems, still trying to make fun where they can find it. Even if it means getting the whole family dressed up a week early.
Happy Halloween, no matter when you celebrate.