13 Months Old at Diagnosis
Our beautiful son, Tyler William Cordle, is the bravest and most amazing person I have ever known or will ever know in my life. After noticing obvious pain in his hip and leg area, I took my 13 month old baby boy to the doctor. The diagnosis of Stage IV neuroblastoma cancer he received on December 1, 2008 started a living nightmare that we will never wake up from. How could our innocent child be given a 30% chance of survival when just a day earlier, he had his whole life ahead of him and we had forever to hold our baby and to see and watch him grow?
Over the next year, Tyler would endure 2 surgeries, 7 rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant (using his own cells) in Seattle, WA where we would end up living for 2 months, 12 rounds of radiation and numerous rounds of immune and antibody therapies. We had to watch our sweet boy lose his hair, throw up more times than I knew was possible, completely stop eating and be hooked to a pump for nutrition and have an NG tube put down his nose for food, throw up blood clots and parts of his esophagus, have horrendous sores from the inside of his mouth all the way through his intestines and so many more side effects, I can’t possibly list them all.
Tyler was in remission from April 2009 until his relapse in December 2009. You see, once a child with neuroblastoma relapses, there is no cure and life expectancy becomes 0. What’s worse? To hear your child has been diagnosed with cancer for the first time or to hear the words “We found another tumor. I am so sorry” after ALL he had been through during treatment and knowing exactly what those words meant. At least the first time we heard the word cancer, we could still have hope for a miracle. The second time…my world ended. To be honest though, I never truly lost hope until after 8 more months of “milder” chemo and radiation and 2 more surgeries, when I sat at my 2 1/2 year old son’s bedside, seeing him hooked up to a ventilator unable to breathe on his own now because the cancer spread to his lungs and having to make the most debilitating, unimaginable decision a parent could ever make. After being told by the doctors “There is nothing more we can do for your son”, they unhooked the ventilator. At 6:01 pm on August 16, 2010, the love of my life left me and we were forever left with a Tyler-size hole in our hearts.
The most important thing I want people to know is this…through ALL the horror he went through, Tyler was the happiest, sweetest, funniest, bravest, most amazing person in the world. He would kiss me and wipe my tears away. He would tell me “la you!” which is how he said love you and he would tell me he missed me when I came home from work. His best friends were his stuffed dog “puppy” aka “Sam” and “Sam’s” sidekick “baby puppy”. He never left them. He also loved playing with Matchbox cars and riding his dirt bike (with training wheels). He loved singing and dancing to his karaoke machine. His favorite song was “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean. He loved o-meal (oatmeal), mooies (smoothies) and Starbucks lattes. His favorite movie was Barnyard which he watched on a daily basis. He would tell me “Watch mom! Mommy look!” and crack up laughing at his favorite parts. Tyler obviously loved to laugh because his favorite TV show was America’s Funniest Home Videos! Oh, and he was an incredible cell phone whiz! He could show anyone how to take pictures, send texts, change the display screen picture, record a video…anything, when he was only a year and a half!
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