My Tattoo (The Early Years Part 1)

I was born on June 20th 1983, On a warm summer day, in Southern New Jersey. I was a beautiful kid with blue eyes and platinum hair. I am son of Terry and Linda Slater, who are great and loving parents. I am the youngest of two brothers, who are both awesome and loving. Their names are Daniel (the oldest) and David (the middle). I am so proud of my family, we have all been through alot and we all stood strong through it all.

I was doing what every other 2 year old would be doing. Than I caught chicken pox, I also had an ear infection, and wasn’t eating very well. My mother knew there was something else wrong with me. This was the beginning of a nightmare for my parents, but an awakening for me. This is where I learned that God loves me and I have a purpose.

Dr. Wu who was my Pediatrician noticed that there was something wrong with my stomach. He decided to do a Computerized Axial Tomography scan. Better known as CAT scan, it is basically a series of X-rays combined with a computer which allows the doctors to see if there are any abnormalities in the body. When the results came back they were unclear.

My parents decided to take me into Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to be on the safe side. Dr. Grundy was in charge of my care and he decided to do an Ultrasound. An Ultrasound is a test where high-frequency sound waves are bounced off the tissues using special devices. The echoes are then converted into images, which allow the doctors and patients to see inside the soft tissues and different body cavities without using surgery or any other invasive techniques. When the doctors went over the test results, they found out it was a tumor in my stomach, it was Neuroblastoma. Dr. Grundy said that I had a 10% chance that I would live thirty days with this kind of tumor. The doctors told my parents that they can treat this disease. They can get rid of it but…it will eventually come back. Not the best kind of news to hear but this was the options back than. The plan was to use full body radiation and chemo. This was very rough on me and my parents. Wasn’t doing well, I was very thin and had no hair.

My Dad told me that he remembers this one occasion, where I wasn't feeling well and was throwing up. He said I would not give up. Even though I was throwing up and wasn’t feeling well I would do what I wanted. If I wanted to go into the playroom to play with toys, than that’s what I was going to do. Nothing was going to stop me. My Dad said this always amazed him of the drive I had! He said, a lot of the kids who were dealing with cancer didn’t have that and maybe if they did they would still be around today.

Even after all the chemo and radiation they could still see the tumor. The doctors decided to do surgery. This surgery was going to be complicated and would last 6-7 hours. They used these markings or tattoos to help them find precisely where the tumor was. I actually still have these tattoos today. When the operation took place it went very well. It only lasted an hour. There was no tumor. It actually grew on the adrenal gland not spinal cord so it wasn’t as devastating. My body did go through alot. I was holding fluid in my lungs so they had to put tubes in them to drain them out. That is why I have a scar in each of my armpits, because that is where they put the tubes.

My parents, doctors, and nurses witnessed a miracle. Thank you Lord! The veins in my chest rerouted because they were blocked. If this had not happened I would have died from a heart attack. I remember quite a few years later, I was at a water park. I remember the looks I received from other kids and their parents. It was very discriminating! I remember being very self conscious about this. I mean I had these veins popping out of my chest and it was very noticeable. I was still under the spell of the world, I didn’t know Jesus like I do now. That is why I believe I felt so self conscious about the way I looked. I should have been proud of these marks, these bulging veins popping out of my chest. These were medals, these were badges of honor! This was God’s mark on my body saying lay off this one he belongs to me! He is going to share his story with the world! I am NOT finished with him yet!


Wilmaryad Ben O'Scallas said...

Rock on, hero! :)

ThomasCSlater said...

Yes sir! I will keep on keeping on! No doubt about it! Thanks for stopping by,

God Bless and peace be with you!

Christina said...

Thomas, your faith, joy, love of and passion for Jesus put me to shame.

Plus, I had to keep stopping reading, my tears kept blurring the page.

I can only second wilmaryad ben o'scallas' sentiment: Rock on, hero!

ThomasCSlater said...

Thanks Christina for the kind words!