Death of a Superhero

A Family's Story about Courage, Bravery and the Defining Moments of LOVE

Our sweet, lil' baby love lost his battle to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. We fought long, hard and very aggressively for 2.5 years, only to have his cancer come back for the fourth time to finally take his life. He was only 3 years old.

This entire blog is about Hunter's amazing journey. It's about his life and his love......his determination and his courage.......his absolutely, brilliant personality, and the affect he's had on people all over the world.

He's left an unimaginable footprint on this earth and has changed the lives of thousands of individuals. People who didn't realize how precious life was, now live it with extreme gratefulness. People who took every minute they get to spend with their children for granted, now savor every last second. And people who weren't quite sure what love is all about, now love deeper, love stronger and love with every ounce of their soul.

People all around the world have shared their love, their well wishes, their prayers and their inspiration, and we could have NEVER achieved as much as we did without them. We are humbled by their generosity & their true friendships & are forever grateful for every last person that has come into our lives through our experience with Hunter. He was our precious baby love who we loved and cherished with all our hearts and we are forever crushed and terribly, broken-hearted.

Dance in the clouds baby cakes. Mom & dad are watching proudly & you will remain so very close to our hearts for all of eternity.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Tribute to Zen

So I don't think Zen was ever expecting this turbulent whirlwind of fear and fate when he became a dad. In fact, I'm quite sure he wasn't. Like myself, he was pretty much expecting smooth sailing......going on lots of vacations.....playing in the park...... and lovin' on his son without him being connected to his overwhelming amount of "life tubes".

Well..........surprise...........fatherhood had something else in store for him.

Right out of the gate, Zen had to immediately show his son courage, he had to display an amazing amount of strength and show him how to fight a raging beast one step at a time, and he had to quickly let Hunter know that he was safe and sound and would do everything in his power to protect him and keep him out of harms way. He has, time and time again, fully embraced Hunter in his arms with sooooo much love and tenderness and you can tell that on this special day, he truly feels honored and forever thankful to have the opportunity to even celebrate Father's Day.

To give you some insight into Zen - he's a realist and his mind works very systematically and logically. He's extremely intelligent and retains more information then I could ever imagine. And, lucky for us, mixed in with all of those great robotic qualities is a human being full of a tremendous amount of love, compassion and genuine care and concern for his family. We're all that matters to him.

Insight into our relationship......between Zen and I, he's the one that will face the fact that we could lose Hunter before I will even let it enter into my mind. He'll allow himself to slightly mentally prepare for a future that might not be what we envisioned. Only to think about us and how we would best survive. He doesn't like, and prefers not to be blind sighted. I, on the other hand, will constantly push for the last hope and will remain somewhat in denial to NOT have to face the future that we might not want to envision. I guess that's how we balance each other out. We are truly the Yin and the Yang. We are interdependent in Hunter's world, and in our world, giving rise to each other and holding one another up in times of despair, devastation and unbearable heartache. I would not have survived this situation as well as I have if I did not have Zen.........and vice versa. We've applauded each others efforts on a daily basis and respect one another for the choices and decisions we have had to make regarding Hunter's life. Together we are the dark and the light.....the sun and the moon.....the brutal truth and the wishful hope......the complimentary opposites within our greater whole.

I must mention and give credit to Zen for a few things: One was the peanut incident. Most of you are already familiar with this.....not a fun time. It was the day Hunter was choking and gasping for air and was not able to breathe. And it didn't only happen happened twice......three times.....and then the final fourth - which seemed like it lasted a lifetime. Instead of putting it in the hands of the doctors and fully relying on them and waiting for them to come in and assess the situation, Zen took matters into his own hands. He hit Hunter on his back with such force, force that I, as a mother, would probably not have done. I would imagine I would have gotten there eventually..........but I don't think it would have been my first instinct. Well, thank god for Zen. He didn't waste a moment......and in that situation......every moment mattered. Zen got the peanut out that was lodged in Hunter's throat on his last and final blow. Air rushed back into Hunter's lungs....and Hunter was, once alive.

The second was knowing what combination of chemo's to try when Hunter's life was seriously on the line....again. We were about to lose him.......and he was slipping away right before our eyes. And I mean that literally. The Leukemia was killing him. His body had been taken over by his disease quite fiercely, and we were given the option of leaving the hospital to try to enjoy his last days of life in the comfort of our own home. I was not giving up, and I know I would have tried some form of treatment, but I am not sure if I would have pieced together the potent mix of drugs that Zen had suggested during our "Hunter life meeting". That's where it truly showed how he retains and processes information. He suggested the Cytarabine, Mitoxantrone and the Gemtuzumab. Whuuuuut?? I am very familiar with those..........but as we sat there sobbing, holding Hunter.....I can't say my mind would have worked that fast. I was already heading down memory lane with one foot out the door getting ready to scream and fight and claw our way out........somehow. Where as Zen, used his mind, and fought through the clouds of sadness to figure out how we could try one last thing to save Hunter's life. And so worked. Two for for death.

The third is the herbs. He's done mass amounts of research and has connected with another father to make sure that Hunter's life remains as safe as possible from this deadly disease once we leave the hospital. The herbs can keep Hunter's disease at bay if, in fact, it decides to come back. Unfortunately.......even with Hunter's bone marrow transplant - there's a 90% chance that his Leukemia will return. I'm not saying that we are back to believing and putting all our faith into numbers - but we are facing the fact that Hunter's Leukemia is the most aggressive one out there and it's got a fight in it much like ours. But for whatever reason - we now feel stronger and we are "one-up" on this beast and we are always going to try to stay one step, two steps, one huge leap ahead. His cancer is constantly lurking over our shoulders and we are going to run our asses off to make sure it doesn't pass us by and come after Hunter again. We'll keep him alive on mushroom & cur cumin sandwiches and green tea if we have to. Fine by us. We're ready and armed and have the power and intensity to guard our little man within our walls of love. Nothing is stronger and nothing will beat us.

So.........Happy Father's day my love. You've earned it, you deserve it and Hunter and I could not be more fortunate or more proud. You've saved Hunter's life time and time again as if it was your natural duty. You are a true warrior with which he learns from and we hold you up on a pedestal and stand by your side with love and devotion and the utmost respect. We look forward to spending a lifetime together with you and happily enjoying it as a family.....forever and ever and ever. We love you with all our hearts.


MKPatrick said...

Dearest Zen,

Much love to you this Father's Day...Who could have ever imagined all that would be laid upon you...
You are the most amazing father to your sweet Hunter. Here's to a lifetime of happiness as a DAD!!

Love & Light,
Mary Kay

Stef said...

I can't help but be inspired ... and cry at the same time. I love you all so much and my thoughts, prayers and most humble blessings are with you always. Lenore and Zen, you are incredible parents. Remember, harmony rests upon "the pure peace of the present moment."
Happy Fathers Day Dad. ILY

MJ said...

Lenore & Zen,

Your strength and determination in fighting the leukemia that invaded Hunter, and the love you show for one another is an inspiration.

Much love to you all, and Happy Fathers Day Zen--Hunter is blessed to have you watching over him!

Liz said...

What a beautiful beautiful tribute to a man I have never met but can tell is quite amazing! Happy Father's Day! You defintely deserve it!

Anonymous said...

this is so beautiful. nothing can break down the love you have as a family...and you guys are my inspiration for so many reasons...

anna marie

Matt said...

Happy Fathers Day, Zen. What a wonderful and well deserved tribute. A Man is measured by his deeds and actions. You've blazed a path of courage that inspires everyone who knows you, I'm proud to call you my friend.

Here's to continued healing and health in the years to come, and happiness so greatly deserved for you and your family.


Anonymous said...

Happy Father's Day Zen. We have never met but I am so happy that my friend Lenore has you in her life. I wish you a very blessed Father's Day and many many more.
God Bless,