This week's blog spotlights Ms. Caitlin Faria, a brain tumor survivor who inspires me. She holds the patience and understanding of a wise adult and an open mind for almost everything. 

Caitlin is made from something strong and has a heart of gold that is filled with compassion.  I feel lucky to know her.  Here is Caitlin's Story of her battle against brain cancer:

Hi, my name is Caitlin Faria.

Here is my story about my battle with cancer. On July 30, 2005, when I was 8 years old, I started to get bad headaches. My parents thought it was because of the heat or that I
needed new glasses, but that wasn’t the case. That morning I felt sick to my stomach.  My dad took me to Bayshore Hospital. My mom thought it was just a sinus infection so
she went to a party at my uncle’s house when my dad and I were at the hospital for hours.

The doctors ran blood work and everything was fine. My dad asked the doctor for a CAT scan because he was worried. The doctor said there was no need for a CAT scan and that
a child’s brain is like a brand new car motor. I asked my dad if he could go and get me something to eat. As soon as I ate the food, I threw it up and then another doctor walked
in and my dad insisted that I get a CAT scan. It turned out that I had a golf ball sized tumor wrapped around my brain stem called a medulloblastoma.

I remember the doctor saying how if I had not come to the hospital, I could have died in my sleep that night. The tumor later on was determined as cancer. I was transported
over to Saint Peters Hospital where I had my surgery. My surgeon’s name was Dr. Fried. He was not sure if he could operate, but he did and removed 100% of the tumor.
It turned out that during my surgery, bacteria that is on our skin got in and I got Klebsiella Meningitis. My surgery lasted around 9 hours. I also had to get a drain in my back to get
rid of the infected fluids.

I remember one day when I still had my drain, a new nurse walked in my room and told my mom to get a cup of coffee because she never left my room. She left and the nurse
raised my bed when it was supposed to be low and the IV pole and all the liquids started draining too much and I went into shock. When my mom came back in the room and
lowered my bed, she told the nurse to go get the doctor. After that I got my radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks and a weekly dose of Vinckristine.

Once my radiation was done, I went over to Hackensack Hospital for my chemo, which lasted about a year and another hospital the surgeon worked at. So getting my chemo at
the same hospital he was at made me feel more comfortable. I was burned from radiation and sick from chemo. Luckily I was overweight 8 year old because I lost half of my
body weight. I went from being 129 lbs. to 62 lbs. I became very weak and was in a wheelchair for a while. I needed surgeries for tubes in my ears and for a port in my chest
to replace the pic line in my arm. I received so many blood transfusions and platelet transfusions.

I made it through all of it. It was a horrible thing to go through but it has made my family better people and me and I have learned to live life to the fullest and that anything is
possible. I am now 14 years old and going into high school. I just have one thing to say, “Never say you can’t because you can”.