Our eighteen-year-old son Josh Morgan was diagnosed in March 2019 with cancer after a tumor was discovered inside his brain. Due to the tumor he lost much of the function on the right side of his body. He had surgery soon after and the tumor was 100% resected. As a result of the surgery however, he lost the ability to speak and much of the peripheral vision in his right eye. From late March until the end of June, he went through in patient rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed and regained his speech, the ability to complete simple tasks that we take for granted, and learned how to walk with a cane. During the same time, he simultaneously underwent both radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Josh returned home in July and life seemed to be on track towards a new sense of normal. Josh continued outpatient rehabilitation through McLaren Central Michigan. He began a second round of chemotherapy which continued until December. And in January 2020, he was finally able to return to attending his classes at Shepherd High School.
In June of 2020, the doctors discovered two new tumors which had begun developing in Josh’s brain. One in the original tumor bed in the thalamus and the second was in the cerebellum. He began a new round of radiation and an infusion treatment to help shrink the tumors and by the end of July his MRI’s showed near total resolution of the tumors. At the end of August as a follow up to that treatment, Josh began a new chemo regimen that was meant to target the mutations within the tumors. This was done in hopes to slow any potential regrowth.
In January 2021, Josh’s latest MRI did not bring good news. This time there were 3 tumors. The previous two had regrown and a 3rd was found in the frontal lobe. He was entered into a trial to search for a potential match for new treatments that might be effective. In the meantime Josh began to experience new symptoms that were a result of the tumors and the swelling around them. He began to have swallowing issues, vision and increased weakness. These symptoms have increased substantially and Josh has entered in home pediatric hospice care.
We knew from the start that there was no cure for Josh’s cancer. The goal was always been to make his life as good as it can be for as long as it can be. We lived in moments and just hoped we could have as many of them as we could. Josh passed away on Friday, April 2, 2021. He was loved by everybody who knew him.
The Fort Josh website tells the story behind Josh’s recovery from cancer. It was launched in March 2019 the day before his brain surgery, and contains numerous updates. The posts are separated into volumes which are centered around key milestones in Josh’s recovery: Surgery and Rehabilitation, Return Home, and the discovery of the new tumors.
Facebook Fan Page
The Facebook fan page is a place where we share posts from the site.
The Support Group is a closed group on Facebook where we share more immediate updates, links to blog posts, and photos.