Oakman student fights leukemia

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/29/16

An 8-year-old boy’s medical mystery resulted in the news that no parent wants to hear.

Oakman Elementary School’s Carson Sherer woke up with a stomachache and fever in March. After a trip to the emergency room at Walker Baptist Medical …

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Oakman student fights leukemia

Posted

An 8-year-old boy’s medical mystery resulted in the news that no parent wants to hear.

Oakman Elementary School’s Carson Sherer woke up with a stomachache and fever in March. After a trip to the emergency room at Walker Baptist Medical Center, Carson was transferred to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham with suspected appendicitus. Doctors later observed nothing wrong with his appendix, and Carson was sent home.

A followup with his primary doctor resulted in a strep diagnosis, for which he was treated. Around two weeks went by where Carson was back to the things he enjoys — outdoor activities, playing video games and drawing. But a few weeks later in April, his stomach pain returned, coupled with difficulty moving one of his legs.

Carson’s mother, Alisha Sherer, who is a nurse, knew something was terribly wrong. Her son was soon admitted to Children’s, where the search for a definitive diagnosis began.

After doctors discovered Carson had fluid on his hip and had to do surgery to put a drain in place, a plan was put into action for further testing.

“One day we were sitting there and in walks two doctors who are oncologists, and my husband and I were completely in shock because that was the last thing we expected at all,” Sherer said in tears. “They ended up doing an MRI of the hip and bone, and they had seen some spots that they call hot spots. ... They then set him up to do a bone marrow aspiration from his hip, and then they confirmed the diagnosis two weeks later.”

Carson was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on April 19. Sherer says her son didn’t have the typical symptoms of leukemia, which made his diagnosis even more difficult.

Because of the cancer’s effects to Carson’s hips, it took several weeks for him to be able to walk normally again, and just a few days after being diagnosed with leukemia, Carson began chemotherapy treatment. For the next three years, Carson will undergo chemo, and he’s currently in the first six months of treatment, which will be the most aggressive.

Carson is homebound but should return to school in November or December, once he’s in the maintenance phase of receiving chemo once a month.

Helping the 8-year-old cope with his cancer diagnosis has been a bit of a challenge, Sherer said.

“He had an uncle and aunt that lived across the street from us that he was extremely close with, and they both had cancer and passed away, so Carson associates cancer with going to heaven,” Sherer said. “He’s honestly been a fighter. If it hadn’t been for him, I probably would’ve fell apart a long time ago, but he has been super, super strong.”

Sherer said Carson’s humor has shined through his cancer treatment. He’s found joy in spending time with his dog, Walter, and loves watching Alabama football games with his father, Eric Sherer.

The Oakman community has been supporting Carson during his cancer battle by purchasing Cure 4 Carson wristbands at Oakman Texaco and Oakman Mini Mart. Carson’s teacher, Heather Thomasson, also collects drawings and messages of support from his classmates that are delivered to him, and a fund in Carson’s name has been set up at Security Federal Bank for the public to make donations for his treatment.

Sherer said Carson experiences fatigue and nausea on some days from chemotherapy, but he continues to push forward. Because he was diagnosed with leukemia early, his prognosis remains positive.

“He thinks it’s cool that people wear bracelets with his name on them. It brings a smile to his face,” Sherer said. “He will literally make everybody laugh when you really want to cry.”