Nicholas Pena

First post: Mar 24, 2009 Latest post: Sep 9, 2011
Nicholas "Nicky" Peña went home to God on September 9, 2010, following a courageous 18 month battle against cancer.  His body could not contain his love for life and spirit.  He never missed an opportunity to laugh and play or to share a heartfeld smile and warm hug with those he encountered.  His strength and perseverance to overcome incredible physical challenges and pain shines as a beacon of hope and encouragement for so many people. He is a son, brother, grandson and friend who continues to be remembered and cherished by us all.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all ~ Emily Dickenson

Nicholas is absolutely the strongest, bravest, and most determined 3 year old.   The day before his birthday he began having headaches once a day.  He would ask for medicine and barely pause from playing to take it.  On Tuesday, March 17th, Nicholas had several headaches and then on Wednesday he woke at 5 am in terrible pain.  I took him to the ER in Del Rio and by 0730 we knew he had a brain tumor in the back of his brain.

When I began to cry, he hugged me and asked if I was hurting.  Our 3 year old with a brain tumor was comforting us.  Viv and Alex packed the van and followed Nick and I in the ambulance to Santa Rosa Children's Hospital in San Antonio.  Dr. Patricia A. Mancuso, pediatric neurosurgeon, accepted Nicholas as a patient and immediately ordered a MRI.  Later that night, our lives changed when Viv and I saw the scan.  He had a massive brain tumor.  Dr. Mancuso was very honest about the seriousness of the tumor and the fact that Nick had 3 times the fluid in his brain...Hydrocephalus. 

The following day she put in an external drain to remove the water and relieve the pressure in Nicholas' brain.  On Friday, she performed a biopsy and on Sunday she internalized the shunt.  Nicholas had undergone 3 surgeries in 4 days.  We were told the tumor appeared to be cancer...most likely PNET.

The following Monday, we met with the Oncologist at Santa Rosa, Dr. Shafqat Shah .  We were told more tests needed to be ran to clarify the type of cancer, which now appeared to be ependymoma.

By Thursday, the diagnosis was confirmed, and we began considering all the options.  After consulting with all his doctors and interviewing some surgeons, we decide that Texas Children's Hospital and Robert C. Dauser, M.D. (/FindADoctor/displaybio.asp?person_id=583) are Nicholas' best chance of survival and a quality life.  The plan is to airlift Nicholas and I out tomorrow morning (March 30th).

We have been overwhelmingly appreciative of all the professionals who have cared for Nicholas here at Santa Rosa.  They have anticipated our needs as a family before we could even begin to realize our needs. 

Nicholas has been an amazing miracle.  Through the pain, many seizures and discomfort, he has continued to bless our lives and amaze us everyday!

Keep him in your prayers!

~The amazing thing about miracles is that they happen~

LAST UPDATE: March 2009; for more up-to-date information, please see the "Journal"