Pittsburg County boy survived cancer battle

September 30 — EDITOR’S NOTE — This is the second of two parts.

Bradley Lawson underwent more than a month of operations to remove a brain tumor before being taken off the ventilator.

The parents of 5-year-old Krebs, Adam and Rachel, look back on November 2019 when they agreed to take Bradley off the ventilator after several botched surgeries on a brain tumor that cut off blood flow and pinched his spinal cord. Doctors at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital — a children’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee with a nationally recognized brain tumor program through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — said Bradley should have been paralyzed and wouldn’t make it through the weekend.

Adam Lawson said he would not sign an autopsy agreement and asked doctors if they could wait to see if Bradley made it until Monday and try something else.

Monday came – and Adam waited to show doctors Bradley was still showing signs of life.

“I told them ‘you promised me we would do something,'” Adam said with a hearty laugh.

Doctors did more scans and devised a plan that included experimental chemotherapy and various drugs and amounts to help him recover.

Medical professionals and Bradley’s parents adjusted his medications to help him work to the amount doctors said he needed.

The Lawsons were grateful for specialists who care for royal families in the same tragic circumstances. They brought blankets and snacks. They answered questions. They even made casts of Bradley’s feet and hands for the parents to take home.

Bradley made some progress and started showing more meaningful movements – he seemed to reach for his parents, his hands and feet would tremble to the beat of his favorite song Queen’s “We Will Rock You” – but he still couldn’t move his head .

Then Adam put Dr Pepper, Bradley’s favorite drink, on a sponge, though the doctors advised against soda – and the boy lifted his head off the pillow to grab it.

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Doctors came the next morning to see it in person.

“They couldn’t believe it,” Adam said with a chuckle, tears welling up in his eyes.

Adam said he wanted Bradley to feel normal as soon as possible.

He took it to Bass Pro Shop. He dressed him daily before going out for sunlight and to watch planes overhead. He watched Kansas City Chiefs games with him. All with Bradley still hooked up to a monitor.

Rachel said it seemed to be helping after the boy who just a few months ago helped carry pieces of wood flooring around the house has spent most of the past few months in and out of surgeries.

The couple said they also relied heavily on their faith throughout the process. They prayed with doctors, asked family and friends to pray for Bradley, prayed for themselves and believed he would recover—while medical professionals told them it was nearly impossible.

Bradley and the Lawson family returned home on January 9, 2020 – exactly three months since the boy was first hospitalized. The parents said it was a relief to finally get their son back, despite repairs to be made to their home when they returned.

It was not until June 2020 that the tumor was completely removed. In December 2020, the cancer returned.

Adam said doctors found two tumors near his buttocks and another in the center of his brain that they thought was inoperable.

“They gave him chemo again and I told Rachel we’d just pray harder and see what happens,” Adam said.

Three weeks later, doctors told them they couldn’t find the tumors on a scan, nor could they explain it.

The parents said the only treatment used was the experimental chemo drug originally used to treat lung cancer in adults.

Now Bradley hugs his dog Gabby, rolls around the living room and plays in mud puddles like he did before the original diagnosis.

“I thank God for it every day,” Adam said.

Anyone interested in following Bradley’s story can join Bradley’s Warrior Facebook page.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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