Lauren Tatum Miracle in the Making

First post: Jun 8, 2017 Latest post: Jun 11, 2017
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. I will be using this site to update family and friends about my journey with Colon Cancer. 

May 25, 2017 my life changed yet again. I say again because for the past three years my faith has been tested, but instead of giving up I endured and pushed through things that should have broke me. At the age of 22 I gave birth to my son, Xavier Noel at 7 months instead of going to term. I remembered being in labor and delivery triage and the nurse telling me that I was 5 centimeters dilated and that they would have to admit me into labor and delivery. Tears instantly rolled down my face because it wasn't time for me to deliver but my son was coming. I remembered after I gave birth, Eric, my fiancé and my mom rushed to see Xavier, but I had to ask to see him before the nurses rushed him to NICU. Xavier was born May 19, 2014 and weighed 3 lbs. 5oz. Being a new mom was different and being a NICU mom was even more nerve-racking. I learned how to care for Xavier and I went back and fourth to NICU for four weeks until he was released to come home. Xavier grew and by the time he was 1 year old you could not tell he was born premature. However, he was not talking so before he turned two I asked Infants and Toddlers to evaluate him. He was eligible for services and they helped with his speech. August 2016 Eric and I got him evaluated at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Kennedy Krieger diagnosed him with mild-moderate Autism. When I got the diagnosis I cried but I knew going forward I would do everything I had to do to help Xavier and reverse Autism. It's been a challenge but now Xavier is in a preschool program with Montgomery County Public Schools and he is a completely different child than he was a year ago and I praise GOD! 

At the age of 24 I learned that my family was growing. Eric and I were pregnant again. I had a lot of mixed emotions. I knew my mom would be disappointed because Eric and I just went through a lot with Xavier and now I am pregnant again. After giving birth to Xavier my OBGYN told me that when I get pregnant again they could give me a shot every week called Makena 17P and that would lessen the chance of premature birth and will keep my cervix closed. Well I was a little nervous but I did not want another premature birth. I remembered getting to week 33 the week after I gave birth to Xavier and I was so excited because I knew the shots were helping. I ended up giving birth to my son Zahir Noel two weeks before his due date. He weighed 6 lbs. 3 oz. However, at the time of the first examination the nurse noticed Zahir did not have an anal opening. I just gave birth, I was exhausted and I had this nurse telling me and showing me something was wrong but I did not understand. I did not know what was happening. Doctors rushed into the room and then one doctor told me they had to take him to the NICU. So once again I gave birth to a baby that had to go to the NICU. This time I was so confused because I did not know babies could be born without anal openings. I blamed myself. I remembered crying and asking God Why me? What have I done? Everything moved really fast. I had to learn the condition Zahir had and how I was going to care for him. I met surgeons and NICU nurses who were going to care for Zahir. I later learned that the surgeons were going create an anal opening but not for several months and that he would have to have a colostomy bag. I did not know what a colostomy bag was but I knew he needed to have this bag for several months. Zahir was finally released from NICU after a week in a half. At home my anxiety kicked in because I did not want to fail Zahir when it came to his colostomy bag. I remembered crying when the bag leaked and getting up in the middle of night to change it. I would pray and ask God to please be with me and to not leave me. Zahir and I both would cry at times. Time went by and I eventually got the hang of changing his bag. I became a pro. While I was dealing with everything Zahir became sick. Zahir was hospitalized at Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC.  Zahir became severely dehydrated and was medivacted to Children's. Zahir also developed C-Diff and was in ICU for several weeks. He has had a total of 4 surgeries. I remembered just crying and praying asking God to please be with Zahir. Zahir was a fighter and because he fought I fought. I completely changed. I never knew I could care for two little boys the way I've cared for my boys. I became a strong advocate for both Xavier and Zahir. I had doctors and staff members at Children's over look me as a parent due to my age and go from not having a voice to learning how to speak up and advocate for my children and myself. 

This past September I turned 25. At 25 I did not expect to have two children who both had their own special needs. I really became a woman and fast. Eric proposed February 2016 and I wanted to have a nice wedding but my wedding plans had to be put on hold while life through me a wrench with Zahir and Xavier's diagnosis. I had to put all my energy in to caring for my kids. 

May 25, 2017 my life changed again. No my last name did not change, but my faith was being tested again. May 22, 2017 I went into the ER with abdominal pain. The short visit I thought I would have turned into a week in a half hospital visit. May 23, 2017 I found that I had Chronic Cholecystitis and that my surgeon would have to remove my gallbladder because it was not functioning and I had an infection. 7:30 am May 24, 2017 I had my gallbladder removed. While my surgeon was removing my gallbladder laproscopicly, something was still telling him to look further into my organs. He told my parents he found 7 tumors and he removed 1 to have it biopsied. On Thursday, May 25, 2017 my life changed. My surgeon told me that he found tumors while he was removing my gallbladder and that he biopsied the tumor and it was a possibility that I had colon cancer. He told me that he had been in touch with a oncologist and a GI doctor. He said he didn't have a definite answer at the time but it was almost certain that I had colon cancer. Later that morning the oncologist came and introduced himself and confirmed that I had Stage IV Colon Cancer. I did not know what to say. I just kept thinking I needed to be here for my kids and I'm engaged, I'm planning my wedding. I just didn't have any words. I didn't expect to hear that I had cancer. 

June 1, 2017 I was released from the hospital. I went home having two surgeries. I was very sore. I wasn't able to fully walk. I was so glad to be home with Eric and my boys. I knew that my life would now be different. This time I wasn't taking care of someone else; I had to take care of myself. My kids were so happy I was home but the simple things like picking them up and giving them a hug I couldn't quite do yet because I was still recovering. Eric and I have also been tested as a couple. I commend him because we both have been through a lot with having two children with special needs and now I have a new battle I am facing. Eric has a lot on his shoulders but with the love and support of family he's been able to stand. I also commend and thank my family and friends for doing all they have done thus far. Lastly, I want to thank my mother and brothers who are always there. This is going to be a journey and I cannot do it alone I'm trusting in God, my faith and the support of others. I'm believing in this Miracle in the Making!! 


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