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Sebastian's Story was compiled from 11 months of family newsletters, written by the Dockery's.

In February of 1998, we took Sebastian, who was then 17 months old to the doctor because his tummy looked large and firm. He was diagnosed with a cancer called neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is generally only seen in children and is found as tumors in one or more parts of the body. Sebastian's tumor, which was the size of two grapefruits, originated off his right adrenal gland above the kidney. On the same day Sebastian was diagnosed, his brother Spencer was born in a hotel in Iowa City.

From February to May, he received chemotherapy for a week out of each of those months with outstanding results. His tumor shrank dramatically and he tolerated the chemo incredibly well, with very little side effects and only one readmission into the hospital with an infection. In June, we began all of the tests that were in preparation for an autologous bone marrow transplant. In July, surgery was done to remove the bulk of the tumor and another round of chemotherapy was completed. In late August, just days before the transplant was to occur, a CT was performed and showed that the cancer had spread to his lungs, liver and lymph nodes. The bone marrow transplant was cancelled and salvation chemotherapy was started in September. The CT performed in October showed that the cancer had continued to spread despite this very aggressive treatment. The doctors recommended that further chemotherapy be halted because the risks outweighed the benefits. While we did not ask and the doctors did not volunteer the informatio n, it was our sense that Sebastian did not have very much longer to live.

Despite the doctors recommendations, we believed that, as Sebastian's parents, we were best able to determine his quality of life and chose to continue chemotherapy. While we had no way of predicting how well or even if his tumors would respond to this or any other cycle of treatment, in the past we would see Sebastian enter the hospital with some problem and with in three to four days of receiving chemo, he would start feeling relief from those ailments.

Sebastian's battle with cancer ended the day after Christmas 1998. Sebastian died at home in the same room that he was born. Throughout it all, we never once stopped praying for a miracle of healing. Never once did we ask God that if he wasn't going to physically heal him, could he make sure he died at home, in the arms of his daddy while his mommy held his hands.

Were we devastated? Absolutely. Did we have doubts? Naturally. Did we feel confused? Certainly. Did we sense the presence of God? Undoubtedly. Did we feel peace? Amazingly. Did we make it thorough the day? Graciously. I never would have believed that so much good could come out of something so awful. We have been showered with blessings that even I can't find the words for. Through it all, the most miraculous experience was Sebastian's ability to adapt to his condition. He was such a little trouper. He only needed a little time to make an impact on this world.