“The babies fighting for life at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital are heartbreaking and inspiring. When Robert was born, I knew something was wrong with him because one side of his belly was a little further out. They tested him and said he was fine. We went home and saw his primary doctor for a few months. On his three-month checkup, the specialist for these tumors was filling in for our doctor that day. He looked at Robert and said he needed to run an X-ray and ultrasound on him. I knew something was wrong but didn’t know it was going to be a journey. Robert was seven pounds at the time and they saw a two-pound tumor that was taking up most of his abdomen and pushing on organs. We thought he just had breathing problems. He has Clear Cell Sarcoma, an aggressive cancerous kidney disease. They only find it in three percent of children. Mobile has a case like this only one or two times a year. The doctors sent his tests across the country to get answers, but we are no longer a question mark. When they took the tumor out, one of his kidneys was destroyed. If the doctor hadn’t caught it, Robert would have passed away a month ago.
They cut him completely open to remove the tumor on January 8. We didn’t know where this would go, we just knew he would be going through this for a while. We are in the hospital now because he caught a cold and had a fever. Chemo is a nine-month process that destroyed his immune system. He has five months of chemo left. Recently his belly ballooned because his liver started pumping blood backward and caused his belly to fill with fluid. His liver is getting better and his belly is going down.
This six-month-old little boy has been fighting with the biggest smile. You don’t ever see him unhappy or sad. Doctors keep a close watch on him because anything can happen. We take it day by day, and my life will be waiting for the worst at all times. I have to be strong for him and learned how to give him shots in the leg. I just hope he sees a 5th birthday, a 10th birthday and a 15th birthday. His dad works a lot during the day so support our family and can’t be here as much as he wants to. I worked at Port City Deliveries and they were so good working with me. I had to quit because we kept coming back to the hospital. Right now my job is to protect my child. We were approved to be on Medicaid. That is such a blessing. We have been in hospital rooms so much there are times I forget what my apartment looks like. I have been home maybe three weeks since January. Neither one of us likes being here, but this is where he has to be and what is best for him. I try to keep up with information about him so one day he will understand what he has been through.
I also have a six-year-old daughter who is staying with her dad while I am here. She wasn’t planned but she put me on a different course and made me want to be a better me for her. I just want my kids to be good people. My other dream is to be an opera singer. My high school music teacher encouraged me to enter a music competition and she gave me a piece in Italian. I didn’t know what opera was and didn’t know I could be good at it. Getting into the music program in vocal performance was one of my proudest moments. I was in competition with people who had their music teachers with them, but I did it by myself. There were only two black girls in opera and we loved showing it can be open to anyone. College was also hard because I had my daughter while I was in school. We lived with my grandmother and I bartended at Ruby Tuesdays to support us. I dropped out, but I have almost two years left and I am hoping things go well here so I can go back to school in August.
I have had other miracles in my life. My daughter spent the night with her dad and I spent the night with a girl friend who had to be at work early. I left at 5 a.m and drove home down 225. I woke up driving on the opposite side of the road on one of the few stretches of land that is not trees or swamp. After I slowed down and got back on my side of the road, I pulled over and got on my knees to cry and pray. God saved my life that day. I know I have a talent and a purpose and I want to use it for Him.
I have learned to be thankful for every day God gives us and be good to each other. You only have one life. You may as well treat others the way you want to be treated. Robert is the sweetest, most loving baby and he has taken on everything he has gone through like a champion. We hope that what he is going through will help other babies just like him.”