May 2009: what we thought would be a simple E.R. visit turned out to be the start of our Journey...
"A journey no parent wants to take."
Steven was having pain in this right side, which we thought was a result from DEMO CAR racing- one of Steven’s passions. While we waited for the doctor’s appointment, the pain became worse. So, off to the E.R. we went. After explaining the pain, they first did an x-ray, which led to a C.T. scan, which led to an M.R.I.
Along the way, more tests were done. We thought this was a little much for what may just be broken ribs. After each test was done, the doctor would give us the results. First, we learned of the mass/tumor in the adrenal gland, and then the bone lesions.
All the E.R. doctor told us was to see an Oncologist as soon as possible. We were seen by Dr. Patel, who had seen a case of this before, so he was somewhat familiar with neuroblastoma. Then, we transferred to Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL, where Dr. Morgan explained she didn't think Steven had more then 3 months. We decided to check him out, researched this cancer, and found Comer Children's Hospital.
Steven continues to fight as his cancer has proved to be resistant to standard treatment. We have had many delays along the way- first, it spread to his brain after treatment was started, causing many more urgent issues. He keeps fighting even though his team has shared with us they feel time is running out for him.
During this time Steven has tried to keep his life as normal as possbile. He made it a point that no matter how he felt, he would not miss a game of his little brother playing high school football; and he didn't. He even gave his doctors a football schedule and told them to plan around the games.
His brother, Patrick, has since graduated from High School and has chosen not to attend collage yet. He cares for Steven so his dad and I can still work, since we have both taken second jobs to keep up with the medical bills.
One thing we have learned throughout this journey is how little help is available for young adults fighting pediatric cancer.
Steven has always dreamed of joining the National Guard, but something has always delayed him in getting back to the office for his official sign-up. I told him this happened because God chose him to fight another WAR. He is constantly working with the guard volunteering his time whenever he can. This season he dedicated most of his free time to Toys for Tots, and was even made an honorary member of his local Marine Corps group.
“Mom, I am going to die from this cancer. I only hope I live long enough to be a positive influence in someones life, and that all those clinical trials and experimental treatments help the kids.”
-Steven Goyack Jr-
Update from Steven's Mother...
Steven Thomas Goyack Jr.
October 18, 1988 - July 14, 2011
One journey ends - Another begins.
We laid our son to rest on Monday. We are finding it hard to correctly describe / express our feelings right now. Pain, sorrow, anger, and disbelief are a few that come to mind. As our cancer journey has now ended, we must find the strength to start a new journey -
A journey without Steven here on earth by our side.
HOPE, has held many meanings for us during this journey.
In 2009 HOPE meant treatment, reduction in disease. Time past, HOPE meant prolonged life. More time past, HOPE meant good quality of life. In the picture taking last month, HOPE meant time, time to enjoy family and see Steven happy. At the end while on hospice HOPE meant, no more pain and peace for Steven.
There is a wonderful song, by Steven Curtis Chapman called WITH HOPE. He had lost his five year old daughter, in the song he speaks of HOPE.
That we can cry with HOPE - We can grieve with HOPE. Because we know our goodbyes are not the end, we will see Steven's face again. So we continue WITH HOPE.
At Steven services Father Bob, spoke of HOPE and how Steven's picture is his message to us. Never lose HOPE.
So many of you came to grieve with us - for that we are thankful. But I must say it's all a blur - there are some I never spoke to, some I didn't hug, some of you I didn't thank or get to comfort.
Our HOPE, is that you can have compassion and understand for us - and know we tried our best. In the end we were there just for Steven.
Our son looked so beautiful, so at peace and pain free. From the back of the room, I swear he looked as if he had a smile on his face. I can only HOPE, that he looks down upon us and is pleased.
Please also understand, we are lost - we came home Monday night and are still walking around - LOST. I find it very very hard to even speak Steven's name without breaking down. Even as I write this, tears keep flowing. I was once asked back in 2009 why I don't cry. There were two reason: the first was Steven said " NO TEARS MOM, WE FIGHT" second reason was because I knew if I started to cry - I would never stop. Which has been the case so far. So again, thank you to everyone for the prayers, support you have giving us on this journey. We just ask that you understand our grieving has only just begun. They say time heals all wounds - I would have to disagree. We will never heal, our only HOPE is that we continue though life trying to honor our son and share his courage with others.
We will always remember his HOPE- no matter what the doctors said, or what any test result said - He never gave up on HOPE. Even While receiving he last blessing (last rights) he told Father Bob, I accept Jesus, but I am not done FIGHTING!