On April 4, 2010 our world changed forever. My younger son Jamison wasn’t feeling well and fell down without cause. This was unlike him and it was Easter – what child doesn’t want to hunt for Easter eggs? We took him to the emergency room thinking that this would only be something minor maybe a bad ear infection which he had been battling a lot recently. Upon arriving to the hospital he started having problems standing. Shortly latter the doctor tells us they want to do a CT scan. After what seemed like hours, which in reality was only a short amount of time, the doctor steps into the room asking the nurse to please hold my son while he talks to me my mom and me outside. Thinking back the words still don’t seem real, “Your child has a tumor. And Mrs. Powell, I’m sorry, but I need to send you to a hospital that can treat him, because we can’t!”
Jamison was transferred to Palmetto Richland in Columbia, SC. We arrived late that night and a team of doctors and nurses examined Jamison and told us the plan for the next day. After many test and MRI’s the neurosurgeon comes in and tells us that he wishes there was something he could do for Jamison but this tumor was in his brainstem. We are put in private room later and Jamison’s pediatric oncologist walks in and tells us that Jamison has DIPG. It is in his brainstem and inoperable. This type of cancer is a monster and without radiation we would only have weeks, if that, with him; with radiation maybe 6 to 12 months survival rate.
To say our world was turned upside would be an understatement. I remember the doctor telling us to scream, throw the chairs in that room if we needed to, but when we walked out to be strong for our little boy. I will be forever grateful to the doctors and nurses there for all the love and support they showed us. Jamison’s pediatric oncologist had us enrolled in a trial in Washington D.C by Thursday of that week.
In Washington, Jamison received chemotherapy at Children’s National and radiation at NIH in Bethesda Maryland. The blessing that got us there was amazing. Jamison and his story touched so many people. Jamison seemed like a miracle. The week after diagnosis, he appeared to be a normal happy five-year-old. He was never a big eater, but the steroids changed this very quickly. He loved his pizza and we would get in a battle almost every day whether he would get a slice or not, he always won!
Amazingly, all of his treatments went smoothly – we never had low blood counts or any major issues. Jamison would tell me often not to worry, God was taking care of him and that the white spot in his brain was going to be ok. I believed him and I believed God would take care of my baby. At the end of radiation the tumor was almost fifty percent smaller! Amen!!
We came home in June of 2010 and life went back to as normal as it could. Jamison enjoyed his summer. Fall came around and he got to go to Disney World thanks to a wonderful bunch of people in our community. He loved to watch his big brother play football and was at every game cheering him on and wanting to play. He was in school hating to miss a day to go for check- ups. He was a drawing machine and everything and every room he ever walked into was graced with his talent. The tumor was stable and we were all happy and enjoying our lives.
One December morning he got up to go to school and had trouble standing. His tumor was no longer stable and we were told we only had weeks. Within days he lost control over some of his eye movement, could no longer move his right side and was having trouble swallowing. Being the soldier he was, this never stopped him. He would draw and put together his art with his left hand and nothing slowed him down. He adapted so well and this amazed people.
He brought together our community yet again. They threw him a Christmas Celebration with Santa, Mrs. Clause, Frosty, The Gingerbread Man and Rudolph. He told me he was the happiest boy in the world!! To be so small and young it was amazing how many people would tell me and him how much he changed their life.
Sadly, after his 10-month battle with DIPG, on January 2, 2011, Jamison lost his fight. Never once did he ever ask why this was happening to him or complain at all about what it was taking away. He would always tell me, whenever I was sad, “Remember Momma, I told you God was going to take care of me. Don’t cry, I’m going to be ok”. He showed so much strength and faith throughout all that was happening that I pray one day, I have half as much of what he possessed. He will forever be my little angel.