Naomi had always been healthy but was suffering cold like symptoms for about 3 months. She was always sent home by doctors with cold diagnosis and no medication until February 10, 2013. That morning I let her sleep because my mother always told me that sleep was good for a cold. That day we were having a family gather for my nephew’s birthday. When I woke her up she said she didn’t think she could shower by herself. I just thought she wanted me to spoil her since she was sick so I proceeded to shower her. When I wet her head, she opened her eyes and her left eye bulged out! I was terrified and immediately knew something very serious was going on!
We rushed her to the ER, where within minutes she had a cat scan. Never in my life did I imagine what I was gonna hear, “You’re daughter has a brain tumor! We need your authorization to drill in her head to release pressure or she won’t make it.” I signed the papers and completely lost it! I couldn’t believe she could be gone. I thank God we had that gathering and I had to wake her up. The doctors said if we waited two more hours she wouldn’t have woken up! I had all the family come before they did the procedure. It was very dangerous due to the swelling in her brain and it was a life or death situation. Thank God everything went well! They were draining fluid for 3 days so it was safer to perform surgery to remove the tumor.
We knew Naomi was a brave little girl! After her swelling came down she started talking and she smiled for all of us. She always said “Mommy I will be brave for you all!” Surgery came and it was the longest nighter hours of my life! So much could go wrong. When the surgery was finally over we got the news from the doctor that everything went well. They were able to remove all of the tumor. Wow!! Was my first reaction as I kneeled and have All glory to God!! Little did I know it was cancer and the long road ahead.
Due to the surgery, Naomi couldn’t talk, move, speak, eat or anything! I was devastated. She had to have lots of therapy to relearn how to do all of those things. Naomi had 30 rounds of radiation and after 4 sessions she started to lose her hair. After her 12th round, she needed a NG tube because she lost so much weight. She couldn’t eat because she was being put under for her sessions. It took me almost 4 days to convince the doctors to allow her to try a session without anesthesia so she could eat. At almost 8yrs old she was able to do the rest of her sessions without anesthesia. She did great! She never showed fear and smiled through it all.
It was now time to start chemo. The hardest thing anyone should experience, especially kids! Naomi had 9 rounds of chemo and she needed to be hospitalized for every one! In between lots of testing, endless pokes and painful procedures but Naomi’s spirit was stronger. She was always smiling and never once complained. My baby became my hero! She gave us all the strength we needed to pull her through. Her symptoms with chemo were horrible. She had lots of vomiting, bone and joint pain and nosebleeds. She was unable to open her eyes properly and would hold them open. It was a horrible nightmare!
Naomi not once complained or threw a fit when in pain! However her treatment took a lot from her childhood! It also left its marks. Naomi suffered memory loss and as time passes by she losses more of her hearing. No child should go through this!
As a family we lost everything. I had to quit my job to care for her. Her little sister, Natalie, was bouncing around from home to home of family members that helped care for her. Natalie lost her sister for a while! She lost her parents as well. My husband had to work longer hours to support us since I couldn’t. He missed so much time with his daughters and wife. Our relationship went away because there was hardly anything to say when we were together. Our family outings were gone. We couldn’t even enjoy ice cream at the park. We were terrified of germs or crowded places. We had to wear masks and wash our hands excessively to be around her. It’s was horrible! And the sad thing is that it’s all over but things never go back to how they were. That is what childhood cancer takes away that we can never get back.
Naomi is a very loving, outgoing and happy girl despite all her obstacles! She loves to help others and loves to help those she can. She is a little mommy to her sisters. She is in her 3rd year in remission, thank God!