Pleasure Guild of Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Judah

Judah was a healthy, happy, chubby babBravey boy. At his four-month well check-up, the pediatrician heard a heart murmur. Assuming it was just the result of a growth spurt as many babies have, she referred him to the heart clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital just to make sure it was nothing. His first echocardiogram revealed a massive tumor in the right ventricle of his heart. After monitoring the tumor for two months, Judah underwent open-heart surgery to remove and biopsy it. The biopsy revealed that it was malignant, extremely rare and aggressive. Without so much as a fever or single tummy ache, Judah sailed through seven rounds of chemotherapy over the next few months and even learned to stand up and walk during that time. Just after his first birthday, he was declared in remission. Six months later, Judah started vomiting inexplicably and showing signs of fatigue. His regularly scheduled cardiac MRI revealed that his heart tumor was back, larger than the first time and had grown around the outside of his heart. We immediately started conversations with his oncologist about another surgery, additional chemotherapy, trying radiation, etc.  Further testing a few days later showed that the cancer had also spread to his brain in at least seven places. When weighing all the potential treatments and their benefits and drawbacks for Judah, it didn’t take long for us to decide that the best thing we could do for him was to take him home and enjoy him for as long as possible. It was at this point in Judah’s journey that we were introduced to the Hospice and Palliative Care team. After medicating Judah’s initial symptoms, we didn’t “need” them or really even want them in our home. But over time, as Judah’s health progressively declined, we realized how much our entire family needed the Hospice and Palliative Care team. The nurses provided Judah with kind, personal care that ensured his greatest comfort and happiness. The nurses and doctors provided us, his parents, with the time and attention (day or night) we needed to make the most informed decisions in caring for Judah, as well as peace of mind that we were doing what was best for him. The chaplain offered us encouragement and spiritual support all along the way. Judah lived exactly seven months following his re-diagnosis. The majority of this time was filled with sweet smiles and unforgettable memories; we owe much of that to the personal and professional care provided by this wonderful team. We are eternally grateful to them. ~Laura, Judah’s mom