PatsFans.com - Mobile
PatsFans.com
Search

One Season, One Champion – My Son, Nathaniel

2021 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: vs Saints
Pick Results: NO: 13.6% at NE: 86.4%

Sun
Sep 26th

Current Patriots Twitter Feed:

crash75

On the Roster
One Season, One Champion – My Son, Nathaniel

My father was never into NFL football so I really wasn’t exposed to it much at home while growing up. We didn’t have cable or satellite and I rarely watched sports shows on TV. My family was, however, into college football. We faithfully followed the Iowa Hawkeyes, listening to their games on the radio or, on the occasions when we weren’t too terribly busy, we would catch them on our local TV station.

After graduating from college in 1998, I accepted a job in Fairfield County, Connecticut, moving away from the Midwest for the first time. A schoolmate of mine who had been in the grade ahead of mine had been athletic throughout his life, punted at the university, and was given a chance with the New York Jets. I had hoped he would do well in his career as an NFL player. My schoolmate, though, didn’t have a strong performance in the first game of the season against the 49ers and Parcells ended up cutting him after that first game. I’d been prepared to become a serious NFL fan, but knew I no longer wanted to follow the Jets. Instead, I made the most logical decision and became devoted to the New England Patriots, knowing I could watch the Jets' rival on TV in my area each week. I read up on the Patriots’ history, familiarized myself with the players on the roster and their coaching staff at that time, building a thorough appreciation for the team. My enthusiasm for the team continued to increase over time as I learned more and saw more of the team.

Over the years, I married and had a couple of children, first a daughter, and then about two years later, a son. Like many fathers, I dreamed of my son, Nathaniel, falling in love with football too. I looked forward to us enjoying watching many games together. When I had learned our son’s due date would be in mid-February, I kind of hoped for an early delivery, sometime during the first week of the month, so that we could celebrate his birthday and Super Bowl Sundays together. He arrived in mid-February instead. I was just happy to have him in my life.

In July 2014, at five months, Nathaniel became very sick. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The long-term prognosis did not look good, but Nathaniel was a strong, happy boy which gave us hope. Chemotherapy is tough on the body, too, however. It initially took its toll on Nathaniel’s body and almost took his life just ten days after being hospitalized. Fortunately, Nathaniel pulled through and was able to return to our home after a month's stay at the hospital.

My regular life was put on hold. Work and school would have to wait. Caring for Nathaniel became my full-time duty. He really was my life. I took him to his many appointments. I made sure to administer each of his medicines. I would often hold him throughout the nights. I was willing to do whatever I could to help him win the fight against leukemia.

The leukemia went into remission in September, then the first relapse occurred around Halloween. After further treatment through chemotherapy, the leukemia went into remission again in December. At the oncologist’s recommendation, Nathaniel’s treatment moved toward a bone marrow transplant and his three-year old sister would be the donor. The bone marrow transplant was preceded by radiation and more chemo in the nine weeks or so leading up to it. The bone marrow transplant occurring on January 21st, went okay, but again, it was awfully tough on Nathaniel’s body.

Nathaniel developed VOD (veno-occlusive disease) meaning blood flow was blocked in the small vessels in his liver. He was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) on the afternoon of 2/1/15 to drain a buildup of fluids around the liver and within the abdominal area. The procedure had appeared to go well and Nathaniel was assigned a room at the PICU where he was to stay while recovering. My wife sat by Nathaniel’s bedside reading a book and I sat beside her as the Super Bowl between the Patriots and Seahawks began. Fifteen minutes into the game, alarms on the monitors over and beside Nathaniel’s bed went off. His oxygen level was diving downward quickly.

I dashed to the desk just outside of and across from Nathaniel’s room where a young, male nurse had been sitting, telling him, with urgency, that Nathaniel’s breathing was stopping. The nurse literally hurdled over the desk and sprang into action immediately, starting with rescue breathing. Other medical staff hurried over to his room and assisted as well. My wife and I were asked to remain outside of the room, so there we stood helplessly watching and just wondering if this was his end. A female nurse stood with us telling us the medical staff was doing everything they possibly could to save our son.

The male nurse and one of the doctors walked out to speak with us after a while saying that they were able to restore Nathaniel’s breathing and that he would continue to be monitored closely. My wife and I returned to his room where he laid in his bed. We shifted our attention back and forth between looking at him and the readings on the monitors. After some time, we felt more assured that he would make it through the night after all. Still, neither of us wanted to go to sleep in case Nathaniel would need our help. We discussed whether it would seem odd to turn the game back on. I’m a big Patriots fan, but I wondered if getting excited about a sport would seem out of place with everything Nathaniel, my wife, and I had been through. We decided that turning the game on would actually be a good thing in helping our minds and hearts recover from the terrifying experience.

The first thing I remember seeing when turning the game back on was the Katy Perry dancing shark halftime show. It just added to the surreal experience of the night. I remained standing by Nathaniel’s bedside throughout the entire second half. Anyone who saw the second half of that game knows what an emotional rollercoaster it was. As Nathaniel came back around, he (at just under one year of age) seemed to be reflecting, maybe even experiencing, every emotion and every reaction I was. The experience of having my son, who had just been on the brink of death earlier that night, cheering for the Patriots with me right up until the end was an experience more valuable to me than the Lombardi Trophy itself. My son was still alive, enjoying our time together, while the Patriots managed to pull off an amazing Super Bowl victory. That was a night like no other. Unfortunately, it would be our only Super Bowl together.

Only a month following that Super Bowl night, Nathaniel’s oncologist informed us that the leukemia had returned and that it would almost certainly take his life. Despite further efforts made in Nathaniel’s treatment, the leukemia and its effects did end his life just over three months later in May 2015, on the night Nathaniel turned 15 months old.

I won’t get to live out that dream I had always had of raising Nathaniel from a baby boy into a man and all of the experiences we could have had along the way. Enjoying that second half of Super Bowl XLIX will forever hold a special place in my heart. We went from almost experiencing the loss of Nathaniel during the game to seeing him get well enough that he was able to experience all of the thrills of the game along with me.

Forever I will hold in my heart that one season, that one champion – my son Nathaniel.
 

Attachments

  • nath_hosp_5mos.jpg
    nath_hosp_5mos.jpg
    29.7 KB · Views: 15
  • Transplant day 012115.jpg
    Transplant day 012115.jpg
    23.2 KB · Views: 14

Ian

Administrator
ADMINISTRATOR
One Season, One Champion – My Son, Nathaniel

My father was never into NFL football so I really wasn’t exposed to it much at home while growing up. We didn’t have cable or satellite and I rarely watched sports shows on TV. My family was, however, into college football. We faithfully followed the Iowa Hawkeyes, listening to their games on the radio or, on the occasions when we weren’t too terribly busy, we would catch them on our local TV station.

After graduating from college in 1998, I accepted a job in Fairfield County, Connecticut, moving away from the Midwest for the first time. A schoolmate of mine who had been in the grade ahead of mine had been athletic throughout his life, punted at the university, and was given a chance with the New York Jets. I had hoped he would do well in his career as an NFL player. My schoolmate, though, didn’t have a strong performance in the first game of the season against the 49ers and Parcells ended up cutting him after that first game. I’d been prepared to become a serious NFL fan, but knew I no longer wanted to follow the Jets. Instead, I made the most logical decision and became devoted to the New England Patriots, knowing I could watch the Jets' rival on TV in my area each week. I read up on the Patriots’ history, familiarized myself with the players on the roster and their coaching staff at that time, building a thorough appreciation for the team. My enthusiasm for the team continued to increase over time as I learned more and saw more of the team.

Over the years, I married and had a couple of children, first a daughter, and then about two years later, a son. Like many fathers, I dreamed of my son, Nathaniel, falling in love with football too. I looked forward to us enjoying watching many games together. When I had learned our son’s due date would be in mid-February, I kind of hoped for an early delivery, sometime during the first week of the month, so that we could celebrate his birthday and Super Bowl Sundays together. He arrived in mid-February instead. I was just happy to have him in my life.

In July 2014, at five months, Nathaniel became very sick. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The long-term prognosis did not look good, but Nathaniel was a strong, happy boy which gave us hope. Chemotherapy is tough on the body, too, however. It initially took its toll on Nathaniel’s body and almost took his life just ten days after being hospitalized. Fortunately, Nathaniel pulled through and was able to return to our home after a month's stay at the hospital.

My regular life was put on hold. Work and school would have to wait. Caring for Nathaniel became my full-time duty. He really was my life. I took him to his many appointments. I made sure to administer each of his medicines. I would often hold him throughout the nights. I was willing to do whatever I could to help him win the fight against leukemia.

The leukemia went into remission in September, then the first relapse occurred around Halloween. After further treatment through chemotherapy, the leukemia went into remission again in December. At the oncologist’s recommendation, Nathaniel’s treatment moved toward a bone marrow transplant and his three-year old sister would be the donor. The bone marrow transplant was preceded by radiation and more chemo in the nine weeks or so leading up to it. The bone marrow transplant occurring on January 21st, went okay, but again, it was awfully tough on Nathaniel’s body.

Nathaniel developed VOD (veno-occlusive disease) meaning blood flow was blocked in the small vessels in his liver. He was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) on the afternoon of 2/1/15 to drain a buildup of fluids around the liver and within the abdominal area. The procedure had appeared to go well and Nathaniel was assigned a room at the PICU where he was to stay while recovering. My wife sat by Nathaniel’s bedside reading a book and I sat beside her as the Super Bowl between the Patriots and Seahawks began. Fifteen minutes into the game, alarms on the monitors over and beside Nathaniel’s bed went off. His oxygen level was diving downward quickly.

I dashed to the desk just outside of and across from Nathaniel’s room where a young, male nurse had been sitting, telling him, with urgency, that Nathaniel’s breathing was stopping. The nurse literally hurdled over the desk and sprang into action immediately, starting with rescue breathing. Other medical staff hurried over to his room and assisted as well. My wife and I were asked to remain outside of the room, so there we stood helplessly watching and just wondering if this was his end. A female nurse stood with us telling us the medical staff was doing everything they possibly could to save our son.

The male nurse and one of the doctors walked out to speak with us after a while saying that they were able to restore Nathaniel’s breathing and that he would continue to be monitored closely. My wife and I returned to his room where he laid in his bed. We shifted our attention back and forth between looking at him and the readings on the monitors. After some time, we felt more assured that he would make it through the night after all. Still, neither of us wanted to go to sleep in case Nathaniel would need our help. We discussed whether it would seem odd to turn the game back on. I’m a big Patriots fan, but I wondered if getting excited about a sport would seem out of place with everything Nathaniel, my wife, and I had been through. We decided that turning the game on would actually be a good thing in helping our minds and hearts recover from the terrifying experience.

The first thing I remember seeing when turning the game back on was the Katy Perry dancing shark halftime show. It just added to the surreal experience of the night. I remained standing by Nathaniel’s bedside throughout the entire second half. Anyone who saw the second half of that game knows what an emotional rollercoaster it was. As Nathaniel came back around, he (at just under one year of age) seemed to be reflecting, maybe even experiencing, every emotion and every reaction I was. The experience of having my son, who had just been on the brink of death earlier that night, cheering for the Patriots with me right up until the end was an experience more valuable to me than the Lombardi Trophy itself. My son was still alive, enjoying our time together, while the Patriots managed to pull off an amazing Super Bowl victory. That was a night like no other. Unfortunately, it would be our only Super Bowl together.

Only a month following that Super Bowl night, Nathaniel’s oncologist informed us that the leukemia had returned and that it would almost certainly take his life. Despite further efforts made in Nathaniel’s treatment, the leukemia and its effects did end his life just over three months later in May 2015, on the night Nathaniel turned 15 months old.

I won’t get to live out that dream I had always had of raising Nathaniel from a baby boy into a man and all of the experiences we could have had along the way. Enjoying that second half of Super Bowl XLIX will forever hold a special place in my heart. We went from almost experiencing the loss of Nathaniel during the game to seeing him get well enough that he was able to experience all of the thrills of the game along with me.

Forever I will hold in my heart that one season, that one champion – my son Nathaniel.
That's an incredible story and my thoughts go out to you and your family. I can't imagine ever having to go through something like that...just awful. Best wishes to all of you :(
 

Mrs.PatsFanInVa

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Nothing but respect for the courage and love your family possesses. I am so sorry you and Nathan did not get a different outcome.

Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.
 

Patsfanin Philly

Pro Bowl Player
Hitting 'like' seems inappropriate but thanks for sharing. You and your significant other joined a fraternity that none of us ever wanted to join...... Echoing MrsPFiVa, you are in our thoughts and prayers....
 

anditsgood

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Sorry for you loss, thoughts and prayers sent your way. Thank you for sharing.

I am literally in tears

This one is for Nathaniel
 

PatsDeb

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Thanks for sharing your story and your photos. So sorry for your loss of such a beautiful little boy. You are obviously such a great dad, as despite what you were going through, you and Nathaniel have such joy on your faces when you are together.
 

Top