Max was born a fighter. From the moment he entered this world at just 24-weeks, he had to fight. Born weighing just 1 lb. 11 oz., by the grace of God, Max fought his way out of the NICU in 123 days arriving home the week before Thanksgiving. Six months later, as our family was just beginning to emerge from the cocoon of winter and spring to begin a life of normalcy, Max went to one of his many appointments.
We can all think back and remember moments where something happened or didn’t and our lives were changed forever. For our family, Max’s birth was one. This appointment was another. The next 10-days were a blur of scans, lab work, consultations with oncologists and surgeons across the country, surgery to insert his port, and his first of many more nights in the hospital.
At 10 months old, Max was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer—he is our one in a million. Following a couple rounds of chemo, he had the majority of his liver removed in August of that year. Max returned home to several more rounds of chemo that fall. Our greatest gift that Christmas was Max being declared cancer-free.
“Once again, God has given Max the gift of life here with us. Today, Max had his end-of-chemo MRI and CT scans. Today, he was declared cancer-free. Today, we celebrate with joy and thankfulness. We turn the page gently and with hope and anticipation, knowing that the pages of the past cannot be unwritten and will forever be a part of our story. Tomorrow, as with each day of Max’s life, we will be grateful for the day. That is what we know we have. Tomorrow, we will face what lies ahead.”
I wrote with the knowledge that Max had a significant hearing loss due to one of his chemotherapy drugs and that he would wear hearing aids each day, reminding us all of the journey we’d taken. Through it all, we were so grateful that we could be by Max’s side each day and for the love and support of our family and friends.
Today, Max is a joyful almost 4-year old whose smile will light up a room. He just finished his first year of school at The River School. His big brother and sister, who are his world, will be racing on Team Mighty Max along with some of our village who supported us on every step of this journey.