About this blog
Caiden Hammond was a normal, healthy little 16 month old boy. Active and brown as a berry from playing in the summer sun with his 3 older siblings, no one knew a tumor was developing in his little brain. On September 16 about 12 am mommy heard strange noises on the baby monitor. She rushed to his side to find him having a seizure. His body rigid…his eyes unresponsive… his mouth foaming. He was rushed to Memorial Hospital and the seizure was stabilized and a CT scan performed. Due to an “irregularity” on the CT scan, he was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital. There, they performed an MRI scan, and the parents finally learned the devastating news of Caiden’s tumor. Emergency surgery was scheduled on September 17 to remove the plum sized tumor, that with cysts and liquid, consumed a peach sized area of Caiden’s brain. Remarkably, Caiden only lost some muscle function on his right side. His speech centers and intelligence remained intact, and a subsequent MRI showed that the entire tumor was removed.
For the next several days, the family then waited for the news, that filtered in dribs and drabs. It was definitely cancer. Was it a PNET tumor as the surgeon conjectured? Or something rarer and more dangerous? The physical and occupational therapists came. The oncologist came. The neurosurgeon came. But the answer they needed was still in a lab being analyzed.
At last the news came. The tumor was a particularly nasty malignancy known as atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor or AT-RT. The statistics don’t look good for Caiden, but he has some wonderful things going in his favor. He is strong and healthy in his body, and they were able to get all the tumor out with the surgery. It works against him that he is under 3 years old. Physicians fear using Radiation Therapy because it destroys cognitive ability in one so young, but fear not using Radiation because the tumor will metastasize without it.
Caiden goes back to the hospital October 4th to have a spinal tap (to check his spinal fluid) and to test his bone marrow for cancer. He will have his access (a tube that is like a semi- permanent iv) put in his chest. Then he starts chemo on October 5, his mommy’s birthday. He will stay at the hospital during chemo and until his blood count is up. Head Start II will be the treatment protocol. It will include chemo for 4 months, stem cell therapy for 2 months, and proton therapy at 6 months. We hope this is the correct choice for Caiden. He will undergo regular MRI's to check for new tumors and if one would come up this could all change. Up until now, every aspect of Caiden’s treatment has been in the care of God through the many prayers of the faithful. Please continue to keep Caiden in all your prayers.
Monday, June 20, 2011
I am still struggling daily with a fear, pain, and hopelessness that consumes me. I don't think I will ever recover from this one. Too many hits I guess. My only fulfillment comes from the little victories and knowing today he is with me and nothing can take that away. I wish I could cry and scream, perhaps then some of the pain could leave, but I am holding everything together I can't fall apart. Everyone says he looks so good... but my baby has 42 stitches in his bald little head, scalpel incisions on both sides of his neck and 3 on his chest. Life is too hard.