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

Baby steps

June 16th Caidens NG tube (feeding tube) was really bothering him so I made the choice to remove it for a day or two to allow healing. Today is the 5th day without a feeding tube! I am feeding him through his mouth with a 5 or 10 ml syringe. I take some all organic food (fruit mainly for now) and his supplements, blend them until creamy and feed him 1 ml at a time. Its very time consuming but HE IS EATING, BY MOUTH WAHOO... LITTLE VICTORIES.

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.

8 comments:

  1. As Gavin ate solely through NG tube for the best part of nine months I can relate to how exciting it is to begin to take those little steps back to normalcy.

    As he gets away from chemo and begins to regain his appetite he will show more interest in eating, but this is an amazing victory already! Good for you, mama, for your patience and perseverance. He can do it, but it will just take time and a lot of work! (Oh those agonizingly small 1 ml sips, groan.)

    I believe in him! Best to all of you,
    Erica, Gavin's Mum

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  2. thank you for your comment its so encouraging to know I'm not the only one who has been through this and SURVIVED (wink). hugs

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  3. Hello Samantha,
    My wife and I found out three weeks ago that our 19 month old boy has ATRT. We found out through his development of hydrocephalus (water on the brain) that was caused by a eraser sized tumor in the passageway between the third ventricle and fourth ventricle in the center of the brain. Please follow our experience as we will do the same to your experience. Take care, good luck, God Bless. Thank you.
    Roi, Michelle and Andrew Aidan
    Www.andrewlegar.blogspot.com

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  4. I found your blog through sifting through other stories and completely felt I was reading all my emotions on your site. My son was diagnosed on May 26, 2011 and life as I knew it will never be the same. Words can never ever describe my feelings. You are not alone and only wish you the very best for you and your family.
    Sincerely,
    Leslie
    Yu can read about my son Ayden.... Care pages.com/carepage/supportame

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  5. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!
    Thanks,
    David

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  6. I just wanted to say hello. My name is Jennifer and I also have a son who has fought at/rt. Jayden was 7 months at diagnosis. His tumor was in the posterior fossa region of his brain. The surgeon was able to remove 100% of it. Jayden completed 4 months of high dose chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation and 6 months low dose chemotherapy. Jayden is now 4 1/2 years old and doing wonderful. Hang in there, it will get better!

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  7. Hi Caiden
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. You are a precious and special gift, You are a special earthly angel. You are is a courageous, strong and deteremined fighter. you are a smilen champ, a brave warrior, and smilen champ. you are super hero, a super trooper, and a tough cookie. You are full of sunshine, life, spunk, and smiles. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, 13 other diagnosis. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/champ291 I love it when people sign my guestbook.

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