The start of a new year often brings hope and optimism, but 2016 marks a new year without Elijah. A year that he will never see on Earth, a year of holidays and milestones he will never physically celebrate with us.
When I look back on 2015, we had some exceptional highs and some exceptional lows.
In January, Elijah returned to school after his tumor removal surgery that had taken place in September (2014). My strong child fought as hard as he could to catch up in school while also going to physical and occupational therapy twice a week. The fight and drive that he had is more than I have ever seen in my life.
From January until Easter Sunday, we were moving on with our lives and thought cancer was in our past. A few days leading up to Easter, Elijah was admitted to the hospital due to fluid buildup in his lungs which was causing him extreme pain.
What we were told that Easter Sunday was even harder than hearing it the first time, except this time it was 'the cancer has returned, and due to the location, we don't have too many options'. Elijah began radiation to hopefully kill the new cancer cells which had decided to set up shop in his pleural cavity. Had it been inside his lung, we would have had a better chance of removing it, but due to the fact it was in the lining of his lung, it's impossible to surgically remove.
Of course my brave son endured another 30 rounds of radiation to his lung, only to find out it didn't have much effect on the cancer. Our options locally at this point were diminished.
Elijah still had some really good memories after this, but in hindsight, I see that around this time his body began to weaken. In July, we were accepted into a clinical trial in Atlanta. We had hope. Apparently this new immunotherapy is the 'new and improved' way to treat sarcoma, so good that even President Carter started the same drug at the same time. But you see, this wasn't the 'new and improved' drug for us. We will never know if that clinical trial just made the cancer angry and, in turn, caused it to grow larger and larger, making Elijah's body weaker and weaker. But we did it, and in my heart I thought this was the best option. Other than alternative therapies, I felt it was our only option.
In August, we were removed from the trial because the scans showed too much growth. I think it was at that point that I lost hope. I have asked God the question 'Why?' more times than you can imagine, and I won't know that answer until I get to Heaven. Frankly, at that point when I'm reunited with Elijah, I will be so overjoyed that I might forget to even ask God! Man how I count the days until I see him again.
Elijah's health continually declined until he took his final breath on November 10th at 10:52 p.m. I know my heart, along with many others, suffered severe damage that day.
So, 2015 was the worst year of my life, however, it was a year that Elijah was part of. In 2015, we made memories, we cried, we laughed, we were scared, but most of all, we loved. There was never any doubt how much we loved Elijah and how much he loved us.
2016 will be our first year without a son, a big brother, a nephew, a grandson, a step brother, a friend. As painful and challenging as it will be, we will do our best to keep making memories and sharing laughter; all for one reason...ELIJAH. That is how he would want it. Within the past couple of days, I started to realize something. Elijah's quote 'Faith and Believing Are Your Cure' applies to all of us, regardless if we have cancer or not. See, Elijah had faith in me and believed in me, so how could I possibly let him down?
Becky, Elijah's mama