Jayden is not your average 9 year old little boy... He is SO much more than that!!
In 2010, Jayden developed horrible back pain. Not knowing what had triggered the pain, and it not subsiding, we took him to the doctors for an X-RAY, blood work, and a urinalysis. After these results came back clear with no cause, we began alternating heat and cold to soothe the pain, along with some different medications. The pain ended up so severe that we took him to the emergency room where he got an MRI. There, the doctors gave us the most terrible, heartbreaking news that NO parent would ever want to hear….. tumors….. There he was transported via Ambulance from Saginaw, Michigan to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he would undergo a biopsy.
The surgery took place June 1, 2010, and when the surgeons cut into his back they saw that the tumor large. It was so large that it was putting so much pressure on the spinal cord that the cerebrospinal fluid was not circulating down his spine. At that point, the doctors decided that they would do as much decompressing as they could and remove as much of the tumor that was possible. We were told that they were aiming to get around 30% out, however, after the surgery was done, the surgeon told us that they had removed around 90%!
Jayden was diagnosed with primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) on his spine. We were told that what he has was very aggressive, and highly malignant. We then began the process of preparing for radiation and chemotherapy. We began getting ready for the treatment to take place in Ann Arbor, however, after a short time; we learned that St. Jude's was doing a study of his diagnosis. Upon talking to the team of doctors there, they provided us with hope and encouragement. After many prayers, we were led to the decision to make the trek from Midland, Michigan all the way to Memphis, Tennessee.
There Jayden received 6 weeks of intensive radiation treatment. The last 10 doses of the radiation, he got boosts to the brain (due to finding small tumors embedded during a PET scan). After radiation, we made the journey back home to rest and get prepared for the next step. Intensive chemotherapy began in September. He got four rounds, which made him very sick, however, he was able to bounce back quickly and make life as "normal" as he could.
After Jayden's treatments were done, we, once again, headed home. This time, we were hoping to go back to a semi-normal life. The three month scan quickly came, where the results of the MRI showed that things were still shrinking. 3 months later, he got another scan. This scan, however, was not what was expected. As we were receiving the results, the kick in the chest came again. We had received the news that the cancer was growing and that he was considered back in a relapse.
After many calls, prayers, tears, and deliberation, we finally felt comfortable enough to be able to make the choice of getting treatments in Ann Arbor (St. Jude did not have another protocol for him to do for a relapse). After meeting with his oncologist, he began taking oral and IV chemotherapy in the beginning of July 2011.
Through many MRIs, the medications being switched multiple times to ensure that it was doing the proper job, we continued on with Jayden's journey. He went through many trials, but he was still kicking the tumors butt!!
In June 2012, Jayden had four hospital admissions (2 where he rode in a helicopter and 2 via ambulance). This time, it was for seizures. The doctors still seem stumped to exactly why he was having such horrible seizures, however, they ended up being able stabilize them in-between and were being controlled
On August 11, 2012, he was admitted for appendicitis.... Poor Jayden just couldn't catch a break!!!!
Jayden had a long run and overcame so many hurdles! He was still receiving chemotherapy every month (lasting for 21 days straight). The tumor, if it is growing normal, should grow very fast and aggressively, however, through Jayden's faith and strength, he has kept it done so much, that once again, he is confusing and stumping the doctors constantly.
The seizures ended up getting worse as time went on. Jayden ended up being admitted in September and we ended up home on Palliative care on November 1. Being home was nice and Jayden was able to have comfort having his animals and his family, however, the seizures took such a big toll on him that he lost his ability to communicate, walk, or be able to do anything that any other 8 year old boy could do.
The evening of November 27, 2012 was the worst day of our life... Jayden took his last breath of air and entered the gates of Heaven. We miss him every day, and life is hard without him. We are able to carry on Jayden's legacy through the Pay it Forward Jayden Style Movement.
So who is Jayden?
Jayden truly is a miraculous young man! He has a smile that will melt your heart and all the love for Christ. Jayden continues to show us that God is AMAZING!! Jayden would go through an all-day chemotherapy treatment, come home from a 2 hour drive, and play a game of baseball. He never complained about having cancer, and would be type of kid that would hold everyone together. He was able to go to boy scouts every week and was even able to walk the bridge from being wolf to a bear. He loved trains, tractors, his John Deere Gator, and his cat, Nala. He enjoyed spending every minute he could with his family and if given the choice, he would have family game/movie night every day of the week. He was the sweetest boy with a heart of gold and a huge loss to our family.