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Once upon a time, Gabe was a regular kid, playing Transformers, watching Sponge Bob and baking cookies. Then, on Monday, November 9, 2009, he woke up with a sore right arm. This in itself was not alarming and he went to school without incident. Later that night he complained of chest pain, which lasted for but a brief moment and to which he reported he felt fine.
Tuesday morning, November 10, 2009, Gabe was coughing when he coughed up some blood. We immediately took him to the hospital. We originally thought he would be in and out, especially since our son-in-law called to say Ally was in labor with our first grandson; but they decided to admit him. This was a little bit of a shock because he was bouncing off the walls with activity.
He started a series of antibiotics as his chest x-ray, which the doctors thought was pneumonia. For nine days, we sat in the hospital playing Connect Four, watching movies and of course, Sponge Bob, trying to get Gabe to eat the food. After a Cat scan showed a mass, doctors were still hoping it was only an abscess.
Gabe was sent home on his eighth birthday, November 18, a nice surprise since we thought he would be there through the weekend. We had some family stop by to have some Buckeyes and ice cream. We were just happy to be sleeping in our own beds.
On Tuesday, November 24, we went to the doctor's office and although Gabe was not feeling well, experiencing spiking fevers, they wanted to try and have him home for Thanksgiving if at all possible. Wednesday morning they called and changed their mind, asking that we come back to the hospital.
Another weekend in the hospital, still with no answers. On Friday, November 27, they drained the fluid from his lungs and took a biopsy. They thought they would remove a lot more fluid but there was only about six ounces. The biopsy results were inconclusive and would have to be sent to someone who specialized in Pediatric Pathology. The good news was that he was sent home on Monday, while we waited for the additional biopsy results, but that we should plan on coming to the doctor's office on the following Monday.
We spent the week trying not to pull our hair out in anticipation of Monday's appointment. The weekend seemed to pass in slow motion as we counted down the hours and eventually minutes until the appointment.
Monday, December 7, 2009 at 2:00 PM, we arrived at the doctor's office. We knew it was not good news the second they sent Gabe out of the room with a nurse. Dr. Pierre and the oncologist said that he had "Moderately Differentiated Squamous Cell Carcinoma" or Lung Cancer.
In case that was not hard enough to hear, they shared some statistic that there have only been 5 cases of children with this type of cancer in the last 50 years. Therefore, there was no known treatment and that if he was a 60-year-old man, which was who normally would have this type cancer, we would send him home and tell him to call hospice because his life expectancy was about three months.
Additionally, we later found out that the problem is that the tumor is located where his lungs and heart connect, wrapping around his arteries and that surgery is not an option.
We cried. We were in shock. We are still in shock and we still cry, but they are looking for trials that might be able to help slow the growth. So, here we are, trying not to be mad at heavenly Father and asking for your prayers. Although we do not understand why, nor are we trying, we are trusting that He has a purpose and a plan for Gabe and for our family.