Christmas took on new meaning last year, Zach was still with us, God was with us, and we knew that we would be heading to Texas now on the 5th of January of this year to sit with the Dr.s at MD Anderson and begin a new long regiment of treatment with some experimental drugs and ideas. Zach was very tired now, but somehow found the energy to make the trip south, I will never forget the look on his face as we arrived at the front of the building, and I asked him if he could believe we were finally at MD Anderson. Our joy and happiness though was short lived once we met with the lead Dr. of the clinical trial. She advised that the study was producing very disappointing results, and therefore she did not want Zach to start a program that could now prove in anyway beneficial to his treatment and survival. She told us to return to Canada and again try another round of the revised P6 treatment in a further effort to reduce the tumour size, and then return to Houston a few weeks down the road to possibly join a different study that she believed would give our Zach a better chance at beating the disease. Devastated was not a strong enough word to describe how we felt, and we returned to the hotel. The only loving thing that happened in Texas was reuniting with our very special friends the Wistners, who were more like southern family members. Robb and Laurene took us in and stayed in our hearts the few days we were there, and thanks to their love and support we were actually stronger flying home to Canada. Zach knew that he was going home with Mom and Dad, and we were putting together another plan, but Zach agreed to starting another round of the very harsh P6 chemo, even though he knew how very hard it would be on him. Our brave young Zach took the poison of chemo one last time into his tired body, and AGAIN he fought, but as a result the neutropenia also returned and took away Zach's immune system leaving him so very vulnerable again. He had lost so much weight, was unable to properly eat, or drink, and found it so hard to climb the stairs to his room. Donna and I spent many nights curled up in our bedroom, Zach between us watching his favorite shows, with his "Brutus" sleeping right against him. We could always hold Zach's hand, kiss his soft bald head, and remind him in a soft voice that God was with him, and that so many people were right there with us, sending prayers and love.
As we waited for news of another study, we continued our dialogue with Dr. Pete Anderson of the Cleveland Hospital, and many others around the world as we had been doing for many many months, never to surrender, and never alone, we did everything possible to get nourishment into our little boy, and he tried so very hard to continue to stay with us. The Dr.s could not believe Zach was still fighting, and one even suggested that the best option was to do nothing, can you imagine how we all felt when the lead Oncologist told Zach that just doing nothing was also an option. I do not believe there is a Mother or Father who would accept that there was not a specialist out there somewhere who wouldn't help us. Hope had not left us, Zach said he would not give up, we knew this, but of course our family knew how very sick he had become. Zach was holding on we believe more for us, Mom and Dad, Rayne, Riley and Glenn, his little niece Kristyn, and his special nephews Kane and Andrew. Each day brought more sadness, but still a feeling of love and wonderment that our Zach was still with us on this earth, more time together, every single loving minute together, every breath more special than the previous one, and every rare smile captured to be remembered forever by us all. Zach had always told Donna and I that he wanted to be at home, no more trips to the hospital or clinic, no more travel anywhere, he knew it was almost time to reach out to the Angels, to let them take him to God, instead of pushing them away, as we thought he must be. Zach told his Mom that he truly believed he had a great life, he was not angry or sad, that he had a good run, that he was grateful for the time he had. Only he could say these words to comfort his Mom, knowing she would tell others of her Son's bravery, and unselfish way he looked at life, his life.
There was never a doubt that when the very sad time came, that our Zach would pass to the heavens at home, his home that meant so much to him, but on the morning of March the 13th, 2017, Zach knew he was in need of help in the hospital and we had our precious son taken by ambulance to Hospital in Prince Albert. Zach's Mom holding his left hand, and me his Dad holding his right, with my hand on his chest we prayed, and kissed him so gently with all the love we could, Mom telling him it was okay, he could sleep now, and when he awoke both Mom and Dad would be right there, as we always have. I prayed to our God in Heaven to take away all of our Zach's pain, all of his fear, and give him the life with Jesus he so deserved! As Zach's Mom and I held him, he took his last breath on this earth, and went to a much better place, no more pain, strong again, able to run, and throw, and be loved by our Lord. There will not be a greater sadness for us, for a Mother and a Father, a Brother or a Sister, Zach is our Son, we love him so deeply, how could we possibly live a life here without his physical presence, we must hope and believe he is home where he was called, accepting that now he is safe from disease, pain and fear.