A mom who lost her son to cancer is reminding other parents to hold their children close because not every parent has the opportunity to do so.
On November 16, Taraann Michelle Goodney took to Facebook to share a message of both grief and gratitude months after she lost her son to cancer. In an interview with CafeMom, Goodney explained that after a handful of doctors’ appointments, her son, Dalton was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and pneumonia at just 4 months old.
And Dalton fought as hard as he could, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, and even beating cancer once before relapsing shortly after. On June 27, 2019, Dalton passed away following a valiant battle.
Now five months later, Goodney shared a photo of herself and her baby boy the day he passed away on Facebook. The photo was shared more than 59,000 times.
She wrote, “Your complaints about your baby tossing in bed, is another mama’s wish that her baby was still laying next to her. Your complaints about your baby waking up early is another mama’s wish that she had a reason to get out of bed. Remember to hold your baby extra tight, because some of us mamas can’t.”
Goodney said she shared the photo in a moment of intense pain. “It just hurts, I’m in so much pain.”
Dalton’s Cancer Journey
Dalton was born on September 5, 2018. However, months after his birth, Goodney—a cheerleading coach—was at a banquet when Dalton became sick at the celebration and vomited on the floor.
The unexpected illness worried Goodney, who scheduled doctor appointments for her son the following Monday. “I set up appointments that following Monday and when I took him in to see his pediatrician, she said it was just a viral infection but to come in the next day due to his breathing being a concern.”
As Goodney told CafeMom, Dalton was diagnosed with a common ailment at birth known as laryngomalacia. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, “more than half of infants have noisy breathing during the first week of life.”
Nationwide Children’s Hospital says, “laryngomalacia literally means ‘soft larynx.’ It is caused by floppiness of the laryngeal tissues above the vocal cords (the supraglottic larynx). With inspiration (breathing in), the tissues above the vocal cords fall in towards the airway and cause partial obstruction. This creates stridor (noisy breathing due to obstruction at the level of the voice box).”
Dalton also struggled with “acid reflux and aspiration” as an infant. But on top of not being able to keep any food down, Goodney, who has experience in the medical field, said her son hadn’t peed, his weight was drastically fluctuating, and he started experiencing unexplained bruising on his back.
So Goodney returned to his pediatrician’s office for the follow-up appointment. “I told her how he had been really colic-y and his stomach was bloated. She prescribed gas drops and was happy he hadn’t lost weight. We were sent home.”
Still, Goodney remained concerned, she told CafeMom, “I knew my son wasn’t right. I sent my husband to take our son to Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital and I told him not to leave there without a x-ray and ultrasound of his belly.”
After only getting an x-ray, Dalton and his father were sent home after he was given Tylenol for his fever, and was diagnosed with colic and constipation. The following day, Dalton had an unrelated appointment for his laryngomalacia. It was this specialist that grew concerned as well and called the local ER before sending Goodney and Dalton over.
“They did blood work, an ultrasound, and another X-ray. One hour after walking through those ER doors [on January 22] I was told my 4-month-old son had leukemia and pneumonia.”
Mom Continues to Grieve
As Goodney told CafeMom, she and her husband decided before conceiving Dalton that he would be their last child. Both Goodney and her husband have children from previous relationships. So when Goodney had to have an emergency c-section to deliver Dalton safely, she also had her tubes removed in the process.
“Sometimes I’m out and about and I see a baby that resembles him. What’s worse is I got my tubes removed, so without IVF, which is thousands of dollars, I don’t get my rainbow baby. I don’t get to look into my grandchildren’s eyes one day and see my husband and I.”
She continued to say that while some misconstrued poignant message as an attempt to make other parents look bad, Goodney said that was never her intention. “I never got to see my son crawl, walk, I never got to hear his first words. I’m just trying to stay as happy as I can for our kids that are still alive.”
Nonetheless, Goodney’s post also resonated with a lot of other parents on Facebook and that’s what the mom had hoped for.
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