From the Editor:
You’re about to embark on the journey and true story of Stephen Pecevich, a single dad of three in the Boston area. Stephen, a former financial services professional, had his life take a complete detour which he and his family never imagined, when his youngest child was diagnosed with a brain tumor before she she was even 60 days old.
Follow the story of how this devoted father found faith and strength on what Stephen calls “a life detour”, as we publish regular excerpts from Stephen’s own memoir, which will be available in its entirety in the near future.
Here is how it all began:
A Christmas to Remember
It was shortly before Christmas when I first noticed the slightest indentation framing the eyebrows over my one month old daughter Sydni’s gaze. Upon closer inspection, I concluded that her forehead had grown somewhat larger than the week prior. A few days later, still weighing heavily on my mind, I ultimately brought this worry to my wife’s notice before finally deciding to alert our family doctor.
Given that Sydni had literally just been examined during her one month check-up, my baby’s pediatrician simply referred to her notes before reassuring me that Sydni’s head measurements were nearly identical to those of Tari (Sydni’s 2 1⁄2 year old sister) when Tari was Sydni’s age.
What’s more, whereas Tari was a full-sized healthy baby, Sydni’s physical development (well, at least on the surface) came into view as being either on par, or possibly to a more logical extent, as being above average.
With that, I basically chalked up this unease to my simply being just another dad in a long line of overly paranoid fathers of newborns. On the other hand, about one week later, although still minuscule to the naked eye, Sydni’s forehead now appeared even more pronounced than before. All I kept thinking was:
“Why can nobody else see this?”
Although not alarmed, certainly I knew better than to ignore my gut instincts. This time, though, after once again speaking on the phone with Sydni’s doctor, at this point, under no circumstances would I accept ‘no’ for an answer – and I demanded first available appointment.
In the meantime, my mind began to swiftly deviate. I feverishly explored across the internet investigating anything and everything even remotely related to big heads: dwarfism, Down’s Syndrome, Pfeiffer Syndrome, Cowden’s Syndrome, Biedl’s Disease…you name it, related or not – I researched it. I read much online in relation to how it was not uncommon for newborn babies to have big heads. Even so, I was still apprehensive and thought Sydni’s skull may be growing much too rapidly. By now, my sixth sense was screaming loud. It told me exactly what any parent would not want to hear: that something was just not right.
And that is how it all began …
In a matter of two and a half weeks, the slightest indentation bordering Sydni’s eyebrows was in fact the early marking of what would eventually be described to me by one of my daughter’s doctors as…
the largest brain tumor he had personally ever seen in a two month old infant.
On Saturday, January 15th, 2005, Sydni Taylor Pecevich underwent twelve-hour emergency brain surgery at Children’s Hospital Boston. My innocent child was but two months and one day old at the time. There is no sugarcoating this one…life as I once knew it was suddenly and without warning, drawn into the very definition of a living nightmare.
Stephen Pecevich is a former
financial services professional,
loving father of three,
songwriter, and poet.