July 24, 2014

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Community doing what it can to help a Carlisle Township family beat a brain tumor

CARLISLE TWP. — Dane Morgan loves to play outside, swinging and climbing, often finding an activity to keep himself busy because sitting down isn’t for him.

It’s when he stopped wanting to do the activities he loved that made his parents, Eric and Amy Morgan question their youngest son’s health.

The weeks leading up to April 25 were a whirlwind for the tight-knit Morgan family of Carlisle Township.

Dane, 2, became severely constipated to the point where he began vomiting to release bodily waste.

One day, the vomiting stopped. The family then went to a birthday party where Dane ate a few bites of ice cream. That night, the vomiting began again.

“We thought it was because we let him have ice cream,” Amy Morgan said.

What the Morgan family didn’t know is that Dane’s excessive vomiting, and the times of day it was happening — mostly in the middle of the night and morning — were red flags that something was wrong.

The morning after the birthday party, when Dane took his bath — a fun activity for the toddler — instead of playing in the bathtub, Amy Morgan watched as her son was falling under the water, as if he could not support himself in a sitting position.

Fearing something may be more serious, Amy Morgan asked her mom to watch Dane while she went to work.

Yet it was almost impossible for Amy Morgan to concentrate on her job as a nurses’ secretary at Mercy Regional Medical Center because she was worrying about Dane.

“My mom came to watch him and she told me she didn’t like how he was walking,” Amy Morgan said.

Eric Morgan resorted to the Internet to help him find what was making his typical gregarious toddler lose interest in activities he loved the most — climbing steps, swinging and playing.

“We found that constipation and MS are paired,” Eric Morgan said.

Using what they found on the Internet, the family contacted their doctor who advised that they seek medical treatment at Uinversity Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Eric and Amy Morgan drove Dane to the emergency room at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital on April 23. At 9 p.m., Dane underwent a CAT scan and by 11 p.m. the family had a diagnosis — juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, which is a slow-growing brain tumor that often can become large. Dane’s was the size of a lemon and the pressure the tumor placed on the brain is the reasons he was experiencing severe constipation and vomiting.

“He was avoiding the things that made him dizzy, because the pressure built up in his brain,” Amy Morgan said of the reason why Dane no longer climbed or played on swings.

Before the surgery, doctors had to perform an MRI to determine the exact location of the tumor. However, because of the amount of pressure the tumor placed on the brain, it was too dangerous to force Dane to lie on his back for the hour-plus procedure. Doctors agreed that placing a drainage tube in the top of his head would alleviate the pressure the fluid was exerting on the brain, Amy Morgan said.

Pilocytic astrocytoma tumors can be treated. It was lucky for Dane that he did not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. During a 10-hour surgery, doctors were unable to remove the entire tumor, so Dane will undergo scans every three months to make sure it does not grow back. The tumor was determined to be neither malignant, or benign.
He also has a shunt in his brain to relieve pressure.

Dane’s days revolve around medication and physical, occupational and speech therapy. But Amy Morgan believes it’s his older siblings who are his real therapy.

Tate Morgan, 19, is studying physical therapy and has been working with his youngest brother on the side. Brother Quinn, 16, is his buddy and seems to understand what Dane says when he speaks. Sister Harper, 6, is his playmate, and she wants her playmate back.

“Little by little, he’s coming back,” Amy Morgan said. “This little man is a fighter.”

To help the family financially, residents of LaGrange are pulling together and hosting a “Dollars for Dane” children’s to preteen resale, vendor and craft sale 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 6 at the E.C.I Building, 126 Commerce Drive, LaGrange. Admission is $5.

There also will be a bounce house, face painting and other forms of family fun.

All proceeds benefit the Dane Morgan Benevolent Fund.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/DollarsForDane.

Send your Grafton/LaGrange/Columbia news to Melissa Linebrink, 329-7155 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com.

  • sueishere

    Dane is in my prayers, FAITH!