Finn’s story begins at birth. He was born with his twin sister in Madison, WI, on September 20, 2010. My wife and I, Nicky, didn’t know what we were in for. Having Twins is tough. We hardly even remember some of the time when they were young. Just when we thought things were getting easier, they got harder.
Finn wasn’t meeting some of his developmental milestones, so as a precaution, we took him in to see the doctor, who referred us to a neurologist.
He scheduled a MRI just to rule things out, as a precaution. Shortly after the appointment, the phone rang, and it changed everything. Over the phone the details were hazy, but we were quickly admitted to American Family Children’s Hospital.
Then the peaks and troughs of brain tumors began. The tumor was the size of a lemon, deep in Finn’s thalamus. It was initially considered a low grade astrocytoma. After three surgeries, most of it was resected, but it left him with some left side weakness. Pathology then came back as a high grade tumor, but still remained stable for a while. After a routine MRI in June, it was found that the tumor had grown slightly and Finn endured three rounds of chemotherapy. After his last surgery, it became clear that the whole tumor could not be removed without compromising a major blood vessel. After another MRI in August of 2012 we received heartbreaking news: the chemotherapy was not working, the tumor was once again the size of a lemon and our beautiful boy had 4-6 months to live. With our current chemotherapy not working, we tried every holistic treatment and crackpot idea we could find to try to save Finn. We searched the world for a cure, and couldn’t find it.
In November of 2012, we went to American Family Children’s Hospital for the last time. We were desperate. One last resection was tried, but was abandoned shortly after it started. The tumor had grown to infiltrate most of his brain, and was highly vascularized. It could not be defeated.
When we took Finn home for Hospice care, we were visited by all of his friends and family. We also had special visitors for three days. 3 pairs of bluebirds would come and linger in the tree outside Finn’s window. In the middle of Wisconsin, in the winter, it’s rare to see one. They came to say goodbye. Finn died at home on January 5th, 2013, with his family by his side.
During our time battling cancer with Finn, we were greatly appreciative of all of the help and assistance we received from friends, family, and strangers. We joined a community of brain tumor families who inspire us every day. That is why were have partnered with the John McNicholas Foundation- to help find a cure for pediatric brain tumors, and help fight for the community we will always be a part of.