His father and I will always remember how alive the world seemed after holding our son for the first time. But, shortly after birth, Aiden began showing signs of an illness. However, he never cried, nor complained; therefore it is still hard to believe that his illness would become so severe.
On April 25, 2009, Aiden was rushed to the ER for severe vomiting after nine months of fighting with pediatricians, which had continuously diagnosed him with reflux. That afternoon, following a CT, doctors discovered that our baby boy had not one, but three brain tumors and his condition was deteriorating. Within hours of the CT, Aiden was rushed into EVD surgery, where he would undergo a craniotomy and partial tumor resection two days later. On May 4th the pathology report revealed that Aiden had been diagnosed with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumors (AT/RT), one of the most aggressive malignant brain tumors, which left his father and me in complete dismay. We will never forget the intense fear and anguish, which filled our hearts that day.
After Aiden’s craniotomy, he suffered severe side effects, which kept him in ICU for several weeks. Next, they would throw a couple of rounds of intense chemo his way and no matter how sick he became, there he was with a smile. Aiden would become terribly ill from the chemo; however, he would never show any sign of mercy and his strength, as young as he was, still dumfounds me today. During the last round of chemo, we were able to celebrate his first birthday at the hospital, but due to the effects of chemo Aiden was not really up for a celebration.
The next step would be stem cell transplant, where Aiden sailed through the first round and barely survived the second. Four days after his second transplant, Aiden became septic spending two very critical weeks in ICU. However, right before he was place on a respirator, due to full respiratory distress, I can remember him showing his depth by playing on his keyboard while getting sick, despite the oxygen mask that covered his entire face. That day he became more than my son, he was my soldier, “My Buffalo Soldier”. Soon, our little man would push on and overcome yet another battle.
Following that trip to ICU, in October 2009, Aiden coded in the OR and within twelve hours of being resuscitated, amazingly, he was laughing and playing with us again. Aiden had prevailed again; however, due to the toll on his body he was much too weak to undergo any more treatment at that time. He was finally transferred to Rehab for three weeks, eventually showing signs that he was the strongest he had been since diagnosis. At this time, Aiden and I had spent 189 days straight in the hospital, eventually being released, and anticipating oral chemo at home.
In his five weeks at home, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family and cuddle in the bed together often. Do not mistake the fact that most of our time was spent attending numerous appointments, which took away our time together.
Sadly, the results of Aiden’s next MRI would show that he had relapsed. On December 20th Aiden started seizing and within two weeks we had lost our little soldier – January 5, 2010 at 17 months old. We were fortunate to have the chance to celebrate Christmas and New Years with our little man.
This story is just a glimpse at our extraordinary child that showed the strength of a thousand men and never broke. It is a running joke between his nurses and doctors, that Aiden never did anything by the book and he always challenged their work. I have been told by more than one doctor, that our soldier has changed the way they practice medicine forever. Aiden’s strength and blues eyes will forever linger in the hearts and minds of everyone that knew him. Mommy and Daddy love you baby boy!