My Brooksy Boo.
So many friends have followed along on our journey, but many only after Brooks gained his angel wings. I would like to use this platform to share warning signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and his battle against inoperable brain and spinal tumors...but my hope is that you come away with more. He was so much more than cancer. I hope his story inspires you to Be Brooks Brave.
To become a mom and pour all my love into a child was something I dreamt about for the longest time. Unfortunately, Josh and I didn't have the easiest road to creating a family together. After several years of trying to get pregnant and with the help of IVF (that's another whole emotional journey in itself), we met our first boy, our "little stinker", our "Brooksy Boo", our "B-man", our "guy"...we met Brooks Lee Blackmore on December 20, 2009 via c-section. Oh my, he was the CUTEST little baby with the fullest head of dark hair!! I was in love at first glance. My dreams for him began the moment I held him close to me. He was the sweetest baby boy (well...that started more around 4-6 months when he actually started sleeping!), that loved people, nursing, playing, and taking in the world around him. He was perfect in my eyes. He was on track with all his developmental milestones. He was perfectly healthy until about 1 year old when we discovered he had food allergies. After testing, we found out he was allergic to eggs and soy (which he eventually grew out of), dog saliva, and tree nuts. We had to carry around an epi-pen and warn others about his allergies. At the time I was so upset and bummed about this health concern. Oh if I only realized how this was NOTHING compared to what I would be facing just 5 years later.
The next few years Brooks and I were inseparable. He was my best buddy, my shadow, my helper, and my little man. He was so charismatic and his smile was contagious. He was strong-headed, yet kind-hearted. He was thriving in all areas of his development and hardly ever visited the pediatrician. He loved going to his preschool, hanging out at grandmas house while I worked, and being outside exploring. His favorite toys at this age (1-3 years old) were trains, trucks, tractors, and he began his obsession with HotWheels. In time, Brooks did start to develop asthma and required nightly breathing treatments to keep his lungs healthy. But he did this without any complaining and was a champ! It is not abnormal for kids who have eczema and food allergies to be at risk for developing asthma. We adjusted quickly and felt blessed it was relatively mild. When Brooks was 2 we decided to try and grow our family again. We wanted to try and give Brooks a little brother or sister. Oh boy were we in for a surprise!!!
We had to once again face IVF, but this time it was not successful. It was heartbreaking. We had to then start all over several months later for one more shot. You know that saying, "God's timing is always perfect"? Well, that couldn't be more true because God sure did know what He was doing when He blessed our family with twins!!! Brooks was SO excited. He named them "Brownie and Peaches". We decided to not find out the genders (I know crazy!!) and we were so excited for Brooks to become a big brother.
During my pregnancy, I cherished the time I had with Brooks because I knew it was all going to change quickly. I loved reading him bedtime stories, giving him baths, going grocery shopping together, and doing the everyday things with him. He loved to help me clean, organize, decorate, and cook (yes he got some of his A-type personality from me ). Everything has a place and he was becoming somewhat of a perfectionist. Sometimes that was ok, but it was starting to hold him back in some ways. He was afraid of making mistakes and being wrong, so often he just wouldn't try new things. This held true for early school work too. He was more interested in being active and playing with friends. He was a physical kid and learned best when moving. Brooks also was developing the best sense of humor! He was so silly and fun. He loved laughing and making people laugh. He also loved music and dancing. The boy had some moves!! Despite being 3 and testing his limits, he was a good kid and had a kind heart. His core was love. I knew from the moment Brooks entered this world, that he had a big purpose. It is hard to explain. I just knew he was put here on Earth to make people happy, smile and feel love. Looking back, I now understand why I had that feeling.