Cash William Friesen was born May 20th, 2010. He was our third child but our first son. We were all SO very excited for his arrival with his sisters doting on him every moment. He quickly created a bond with his then almost 5 year old sister – one that even the distance of Heaven cannot break. His daddy was excited to finally have a boy to hang out with. 13 months months later he had the chance to become a big brother to Cyrus…a bond that never really had the chance to start. In August of 2012 after a week of not feeling well, sleepless nights, crying and saying his head hurt, 2 trips to our local ER with no relief, I headed to our Childrens Hospital with him to never return to our cottage again.
That evening a large nectarine sized mass was found on his brain. Surgery was scheduled for the next morning. Surgery was a success with the removal of 90% of the tumor. A week later pathology reports found that it was GBM (Glioblastoma Multiforme) one of the worst kinds of brain cancer that is not commonly found in kids. Because of the surgery, my previously seemingly normal, healthy boy was paralyzed on the right side of his body. As a busy 2 year old boy who was just starting to really talk he was rightfully frustrated and scared but not deterred. He started chemo almost immediately and was fitted with a feeding tube which we knew right from the start something was wrong, he was not able to complete his first round of chemo, his vitals were through the roof and for 2 weeks he was near death. He was rushed in for an emergency surgery as xrays showed signs of a twisted bowel. By God’s grace and mercy those results were wrong but a massive feeding tube infection was found leaving him septic. The feeding tube was removed and the infection removed. 43 days straight we were in the hospital, never leaving his side. His sisters came to visit as often as they could and he thrived when they were around – especially his big sister Cianna.
October 1st he began round 2 after a glorious week at home. He tolerated it well and we were able to go home to finish it. Healing began to happen at home. Within 1 month of being home he relearned how to talk and walk. Cancer was not going to keep him down. His strength was undeniable – we saw it from the start of his life giving him the nickname BamBam right from birth. He was strong – we just didn’t know how strong until cancer entered our lives. He completed 5 rounds of chemo never again needing a feeding tube. In those 5 rounds he never got sick. We only had a short stint in the hospital due to a picc line infection, which afterward we opted for a port insertion to make it easier but it was never needed. MRI’s during that time showed continued shrinkage of the tumor. He was thriving being at home with his family. In early February 2013 we got the call: the tumor had grown. We made the decision for another resection of the tumor, he would once again go in for surgery. At this time we decided to take our “wish trip” as to look at him he was a normal little boy just with a limp in his walk and a hand that didn’t work. I decided to do so before his next surgery because of the results that happened previously of being paralyzed. Maybe it was also mother’s intuition.
Our family of 6, along with his paternal grandparents, his maternal grandma and his Aunty spent a glorious week at Disney World. My dream of him seeing the ocean and experiencing the sounds, smells and sights also became a reality. A moment in time that I will cherish forever. He was scheduled for surgery March 8th. We returned home March 5th and March 7th I had set up a day of kindergarten for him with his sidekick, his love, his sister. That day was perfect. He was able to go on the bus and go to school. We were greeted with a big sign and he had so much fun. A day I am so grateful for. He underwent his second brain surgery and came out fighting like a champ. This time there was no paralysis, not 24 hours later he was trying to crawl out of the hospital bed and was calling for his sisters. A true fighter, a true hero. 4 days later we were able to go home. He had 1 night at home cuddled with mom and dad safely in our bed. The next day he seemed to go downhill refusing to tell us what hurt when he always did before so we rushed him into the hospital at 11 pm. He was lethargic, we thought we lost him along the way. Grateful but haunted by his very last word, “Mommy”. I carried him into the ER lifeless. It was found that we were back at square 1 – hydrocephalus or water on the brain. He was intubated and we called our families in to say goodbye. I prayed that once the tube was taken out that he would pass quickly and not suffer in anyway. With his dad and I cuddled on either side of him, he passed away March 14th, 2013 at 8:33am.
Cash is my hero. He taught me about life, not sweating the small stuff, cherishing every single second – good or bad. He taught me about perserverence, courage, and strength. I am so thankful for the 2 1/2 years I was able to enjoy him. We had a special bond that I miss. I miss his nightly cuddles, the way he’d put his little arms around my neck and say, “love you Mommy”. The void in our household is evident. His little brother may not have had the chance to get to know him but there is a bond. He tells us everyday how he misses his “brudder”. His sister Cianna with whom he held a very special bond with and he absolutely adored continuously sends him letters to Heaven. He went into that hospital in August a little boy and left this world a wise little man who taught many about love, forgiveness, and life. He is forever missed, cherished and loved by everyone.
Our kids are worth more than the percentage they are given. They deserve better, they deserve more. They are our future.