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Rex was 8 years old on Nov. 22, 2010, having just reached that mark one month and 5 days before he threw up four times and had a migraine-type headache that sent us to our pediatrician. Dr. Wiley and a local ophthalmologist, Dr. Teague, agreed that Rex had a severe problem and sent us to Hendrick Medical Center here in Abilene. Later that night, after an MRI, Dr. Wiley told us that Rex had a golf-ball size tumor buried deep in his brain. The next day we were at Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth to discuss treatment options. The next week, Dr. David Donahue was able to resect the tumor entirely, and it appeared to be benign. However, eight days after surgery we found out Rex had a very serious malignant tumor.
Through another brain surgery in Dec. 2011, 31 rounds of radiation and another 20 rounds of chemotherapy, Rex kept bouncing back. He stayed in school, played with friends, and found a way around the few minor physical setbacks he had from his surgery.
After a Make-A-Wish trip in June 2012, we returned home with an apparently healthy son. But on July 25 -- two days after his 3-month MRI -- we found out that Rex's tumor was back, and so were two new strands of cancer that were growing toward his brain stem. Surgery was not an option, only an experimental drug that he would take for 3 months and then be re-scanned.
The scan in late October 2012 confirmed the drug had made no progress in stopping the growth of the cancer and we were told to prepare ourselves for the worst: our 10-year-old son would die within the next 3-4 months. It didn't take that long. On Nov. 8, Rex suffered a debilitating seizure that left him bed-ridden with slurred speech and almost no control over his extremities.
On the evening of Nov. 25, 2012, while surrounded at home by his parents, siblings and grandparents, Rex slipped away to his eternal home where he saw the face of Jesus. We know he is forever healed because he asked Jesus to live in his heart at the age of 7 and was baptized as a born-again Christian.
We know we will see our little boy again when our turn to see our Maker comes, and we know this time there will be no separation. We know that we will live together forever. Until then, we will live the way Rex taught us: with love, with laughter and with grace. We love you, Rex, and we'll see you again one day.
Mom, Dad, Ashley and Ryan