This is a story about a special little guy named Cameron who had blonde hair and blue eyes. In November of 2007 he was diagnosed with a softball-sized astrocytoma. His dad and I were, in a word, shell-shocked. The news from his pediatrician hit me like a ton of bricks. And, my heart dropped to my stomach, it felt like my world came to a screeching halt. I literally felt like my heart broke into a million pieces.
Cameron was immediately admitted to the hospital where the head CT scan was done. He was placed on the surgical waiting list; his surgery took place the day after his dad’s 40th birthday. He was in the hospital for 11 days the first time, coming home the day after Thanksgiving. His next resection surgery took place in January. The surgeon then placed a shunt in Cameron’s head. We were in the hospital for 12 days that time. That February the shunt clogged and we rushed him to the hospital…an hour away. He had another CT scan and we were told they were admitting him for emergency surgery to remove the shunt. Cameron was nonresponsive. We were in the hospital for 16 days. We had to wait for the CSF to clear then they took him in for shunt replacement and medi-port surgery at the same time. The pathology people told the Tumor Board doctors that they found fast-growing cells in the resected piece that they removed. By this time his dad and I had been through so much that nothing that the doctors told us shocked us.
I spent days and nights with Cameron at the hospital while his dad came home and cared our other children – Christine, 13 and Kyle, 12. Cameron was stiff from lack of exercise and his head was large from swelling. He was on all kinds of medicines, from anxiety medicine to HBP medicine and steroids. I prayed every day for his miracle. I had the chaplains from the hospital come in to pray for him. The whole time Cameron was in the hospital, I kept telling him that I knew he was in there somewhere, that his old self was there. When he finally got his miracle and was able to come home, he received physical therapy 2 times a week, was receiving outpatient chemo which he tolerated pretty well, and started talking up a storm.
He amazed the doctors and nurses caring for him and I always told them that’s what prayer will do as they looked at me in a state of disbelief. I believe Cameron was a true gift from God.
After the initial diagnosis, Cameron had two more brain surgeries in 2008, received many chemo drugs and radiation therapy. In addition to the treatment, he continued with regular speech and occupational therapies.
He was our strong-willed little man. He loved to make sure people knew he was around. In spite of it all, he always seemed to grow like a week and even started talking in complete sentences (a miracle in itself).
Sadly, our Cameron lost his battle with his brain tumor on May 1, 2010. He had to have another brain surgery on April 15th and we were later told that the tumor had become malignant. He was home for 8 days when he had a seizure and a mini-stroke. We took him back to the hospital and he spent 5 days there before succumbing to the illness. He never regained consciousness.
We were truly blessed to have him for as long as we did.