Today is day #1827. Today is the day that has been marked in my calendar for years. The 16th of October 2020. It is the day I have been looking forward the most in my entire life. It trumps my wedding day, it trumps your birthday, Max’s birthday and Anoek’s birthday. Today is a very very special day. It is the day the meaning of the C-word changes.
The dreaded C-word. Cancer…
You were still a baby, not even 1 year old when you just suddenly fell ill. Just vomiting like many other children your age did. But yours was different. You were sick without effort, without retching. During the next couple of days, you started to cover your eyes and you became inconsolable. When the doctors ran out of ideas, they ordered a CT scan. A simple 2-minute procedure….
Nothing was simple anymore after that CT scan. The radiologists instantly noticed a mass on your brain which eventually turned about to be a cancerous tumour. You, our baby had brain cancer. Our world fell apart. When I told you mum the news we cried together, but we also made a promise. We would stay strong, we would be there for you, because more than ever, you would need us.
The following 8 months were pure horror. 13 rounds of surgery, 2 of them to remove tumours, 6 weeks of gruelling chemotherapy and 6 weeks of radiotherapy. You spend 225 nights in hospital including nearly 8 weeks on intensive care. We went from one emergency to the other, never a dull day in your life. The odds were stacked against you. We many times feared we were about to lose you. During this dark period, we came to realise how special you are. You somehow had the strength and determination to keep the fight going. No matter how much pain you were in, cancer coming back, your brain stopping your breathing many times, you always came out on the other side. They say that most heroes wear capes, but not you. You are so strong that you do not need a cape.
In the following years you have had 11 more round of surgery (24 in total now), had a few more emergencies, serious pneumonia and very serious sepsis as well as 2 life threatening seizures. But somehow you have managed all this. Your rehabilitation is still ongoing, and everything happens when you are ready for it. As I always say, “Bram is Boss”. We know that when you are ready you will make the next step. After you came home at the end of 2015 all you could do was lie on your left side to watch your beloved Zandkasteel on your iPad. Look at you now! You have learned to sit, crawl, and are now able to walk holding on to something/someone. When you are ready you will show all of us that you can stand and eventually walk.
It is incredible to see you grow up. You keep on inspiring us and have touched so many lives. Despite the multiple handicaps you are a happy boy. We love your big smile, and your cuddles and kisses. Your journey has had a massive impact on our life, it has been extremely tough. The worry and stress are enormous. But it is all worth it. Nothing is more satisfying than being able to care for you and your siblings. It is a privilege to meet my hero, not just once, but every single day. Bram, you are my absolute hero and inspiration.
Looking at the future we do not know how far you will get. You have shown us every time that limits are not for you. Many times, you have proven us and the professionals wrong. No limits. Just enjoy every day.
Your fighting spirit has brought you to this day. Your doctors and nursed did all they could, and on this day, 5 years ago, you had your last cancer treatment. No more options left at that point. It was life or death. Your MRI scan a few weeks later showed that the treatment was successful, and you returned a clean scan. Many more clean scans have followed since. You have been in remission for 5 years today. And we are aware that there are no guarantees in life, but we believe that we can now call your cancer cured. So, from today onwards for us the meaning of the C-word is the beautiful word… CURE
Bram, congratulations on achieving this milestone. That many more milestones can be achieved. Continue being this awesome boy, keep inspiring people, be the boss and never accept any limits.