May 19, 2008 – a date we will never forget! My husband, Anthony, and I took our 5 year old son, Dominic, in for a CAT Scan regarding some episodes he was having at school and home. Within 90 minutes, we were sitting in CHOP’s ER where the devastating news was given to us. Dominic was having seizures due to a brain tumor in his left temporal lobe. We checked into CHOP and met our wonderful team, surgeon Dr. Storm and Oncologist Dr. Belasco. Three days later Dr. Storm performed the surgery. We sat with Dominic that morning and he was such a brave boy. As we cried, hugged, and kissed him he said to me, “Mommy don’t worry I will be ok, don’t cry.” He is truly a remarkable boy! We were beyond upset – sending our beautiful son into surgery and not sure of what the future would hold. It was an awful day – we paced the halls at CHOP and bought him countless gifts in the gift shop. After about 8 hours, we met with Dr. Storm. The surgery went well and the tumor was removed. Three days later, the biopsy confirmed it was benign. Dominic was sent home 2 days after surgery. It was quite remarkable! From there we had follow up visits with Dr. Storm, neuro eye appointments, memory tests, MRI’s and appointments with Dr. Belasco every 3 months, then 6 months, then annual for 5 years. Other than some short term memory issues, he has made a wonderful recovery with no tumor recurrence or seizure activity.
In July 2013, 5 years later, he was released from Dr. Belasco and only needs to return to CHOP “as needed.” I couldn’t believe after countless MRI’s, tests, appointments and meetings, we were finally done. I cried my eyes out from the moment Dr. Belasco told us to the moment I got home. For the first time it was tears of joy. Dominic is now 11 years old and doing well in school, plays clarinet and piano, loves basketball, and looks forward to running track in middle school. He loves to hang out with his sisters Jenna (13) and Ava (8), and play with our new beagle puppy Lucy. We are so grateful to Dr. Storm for saving Dominic’s life, Dr. Belasco for her kindness over the years, and all the countless and wonderful people at CHOP who helped Dominic. We look forward to moving on to the next chapter of our lives and supporting brain tumor research at CHOP.
Amy Vigorito, Dominic’s Mom