Christopher was never without a smile on his face. He was the happiest baby and loved to laugh and play. His mutual adoration for his big brother Alex was such a joy for us to see and experience daily.
In October 2011 Christopher got sick and the doctors couldn't determine what was going on. We were admitted to the hospital for observation. What was supposed to be a one night stay turned into two-and-a-half weeks. He had strep that went septic. It was terrifying for us. I was so relieved when he got better and we were released to go home.
I thought that would be the hardest thing we would face with him – but just two weeks later we were back in the ER. His left eye had started to bulge out. I thought the infection was back. They did a CT Scan and told me that an oncologist would come talk to me. They said they thought it was cancer.
On November 22, 2011 after all the tests were back my husband and I sat in a conference room and were told that our 15 month old son had Stage IV neuroblastoma. I had never even heard of it before. We were told that the chances aren’t good and there is no known cure. On top of that he had the gene that is more likely to relapse.
From that day forward Christopher started his fight. He had endless rounds of chemo, blood and platelet infusions, and surgery to remove the main tumor, a stem cell harvest, stem cell transplant, radiation, and antibody treatments. His scans came back clear before the stem cell transplant – we were so happy. It was time for us to finish treatment and get back to our lives. However, our joy would only last 6 months.
On Labor Day 2012 Christopher’s face started a partial paralysis. We went right to the ER and an MRI showed a tumor in between his skull and his brain. The tumor was only in one area so we started chemo again and repeated the tests in two months. In November, we found out the tumor had tripled in size. Christopher was given a stronger chemo and radiation– but never lost his smile. He laughed and played and kept all the nurses on their toes. He was a constant joy to all that were around him. He seemed to be getting better – we even got to go home in time for Christmas.
On Friday January 25th, 2013 I put my baby down in his bed, kissed him goodnight and told him I loved him. Sometime after that he lost his fight. I know now that we need more research put in to childhood cancers. We must find a cure and more treatment options for these sweet children who are being taken from us too soon. Awareness must be raised and research must be done to prevent any more families going through this horrendous loss. For Christopher, we will keep smiling, and we will continue to be a part of the fight for a cure.