Peyton was diagnosed on September 15, 2010 with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It started when Peyton’s left eye crossed overnight. I had noticed a couple of days before that his eyes were crossing periodically. My thoughts were, “he figured out he can cross his eyes”, and didn’t put much more thought in to it. But when his left eye stayed crossed, I called the pediatrician and got the last same day appointment for him to be seen.
I feared that it was a brain tumor because what else would cause his eye to cross overnight. His pediatrician called and got us in to see an ophthalmologist the next day. We had to drive 1.5 hours to meet with the ophthalmologist because my husband was stationed in a small town. We met with him and he thought it could be strabismus. But he wanted to order a MRI to clear him for anything worse. I started thinking, how am I going to get a two year old to wear glasses and a patch? A MRI was ordered for the next day, so we got a hotel room instead of making the drive home and back.
We got up early that morning and took him to the hospital, not knowing this day was the day that would change our lives forever. I will never forget these words, “Our worst fears have been confirmed.” It all happened in slow motion as the doctors told us of his brain tumor. They told us we would have to meet with a neurosurgeon to discuss if the tumor was operable. As we waited for the neurosurgeon to get out of surgery we paced and cried and held our baby boy. The neurosurgeon did not have good news for us either.
We were admitted that night for observation and met with doctors the next morning to discuss treatment options. We made the decision to be treated in Atlanta so we could have family support. We booked a flight to Atlanta that day and we flew with the clothes on our back. We were picked up by family and taken straight to Scottish Rite to meet with doctors and start treatment. Peyton went to radiation five days a week for six weeks and was sedated every day for this. Next, we started his chemotherapy. His first MRI showed that the tumor had shrunk significantly and we continued chemotherapy.
Around Easter 2011 we noticed that Peyton was starting to trip a lot and the Monday after Easter I could tell that he was walking differently. We called the doctor and they had us go to the emergency room. A CT scan revealed the tumor had grown, so our oncologist ordered a MRI which re-confirmed the tumor had grown. We decided to stop treatment at that point. The tumor had grown and was back with a vengeance.
The tumor took control of Peyton’s body much faster than the doctors thought it would happen. We were able to take Peyton to Disney because of Make-A-Wish. We had to call his oncologist while we were there because his symptoms progressed. Peyton won his battle June 3, 2011. Peyton is now alive and healed in Heaven and that tumor is dead.
Our Peyton was a precious boy and he taught us so much in the short time we were blessed to have him. He taught us about Love, and what is really important in life. Peyton loved life, he loved hitting the tee ball and playing outside. He loved Buzz Lightyear & the Toy Story gang and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He loved to dance and sing. He loved showing his “Bay Sis” what life was all about. He enjoyed the Georgia Aquarium – visiting the sharks, Nemo and Dori, the turtle and petting the stingrays. He never missed an opportunity to enjoy some vanilla soft serve ice cream.
We miss him every day and my heart breaks when I think about what damage a brain tumor can do to a child. I pray daily for a cure and for families who continue to fight this horrible fight.
We love you Peyton “To Infinity and Beyond”!