12 Days of Giving- Day 8- In Memory of Sam
My friends Maria and Jason lost their son Sam to a brain tumor when he was 7 months old. I asked Maria to tell a little of Sam's story.
Here it is:
Sam was born with a heart defect and went through 2 major open heart surgeries before he was even 6 months. After his second surgery he was a cheery and happy little baby boy. We felt so blessed and so grateful that he had come so far. At about 7 months, we thought he had a flu. He stopped eating, and whenever he did eat, he threw up...A LOT. We noticed that he stopped moving on one side of his body.
He was too young to tell us anything so because of his already fragile health status and the impact a simple flu could have on his heart we took him to DC Children's to have him evaluated. He was tested for everything all day long...and nothing came of the testing. He was admitted for dehydration and they scheduled a CT Scan (just to be safe...) at 1 am.
I spent the night and Jason made the long drive back to Ashburn so he could go to work. We were used to this routine and I didn't mind the chair...after all, we thought it was fluids for the night and then a discharge in the morning.
At 1am the nurse woke me up and asked if I wanted to walk down to CT for Sam's scan. Of course, I did. It's a big scary looking machine for such a small little baby. I put him on the machine, wrapped him in a blanket and covered him up with the lead blanket. He kept his pacifier in. He looked at me once and then I sat in a corner chair while the test was being done. I could see all the doctors and Xray techs standing in the observation room. It was starting to take a long time. One of the doctor's came out and asked me if this was Sam's first scan. I asked why...sensing there was something wrong, he said it was a routine question.
When the test was over, I picked him up and put him back on the crib and he was wheeled back to his room. No one spoke to me or looked at me. I was scared. About an hour later a doctor came in Sam's room and sat down next to me. She said, "The CT Scan detected a large mass in the left ventricle of Sam's brain, he also has severe hydrocephalus. We are going to transfer him to the ICU right now."
I can't describe what this feels like. I had no idea what to think or say. I looked at Sam and he was asleep and didn't seem scared and that was my only comfort.
The following day Sam had an MRI and it confirmed our worst nightmare. He had a massive inoperable brain tumor that had spread throughout his spine. He was given a few days to live.
We brought him home to hospice care and he died in our bed, peacefully and quietly just 3 days later. I miss him everyday.
This is Sam, about a week before he died, in his daddy's arms.
I have made a donation to Katie's Kids in memory of Sam. I never met Sam, but have the pleasure of knowing his brothers JJ and Mark, along with his sister Cora.
Hug your precious kids today~
P.S. The woman that started Katie's Kids had a brain tumor herself and has an extraordinary story. She was such a passionate advocate for pediatric brain tumor research! For more on her, click here.