Anthony Daniel Paradiso
January 8, 1963 - May 12, 1966
Anthony had a happy and healthy first three years of life. Exactly one week after his 3rd birthday, he got a new pair of shoes. While wearing the shoes, Mom noticed he was walking funny, like his balance was off. She assumed the shoes didn't fit right, and exchanged them for a different pair. The strange walking continued. She put his old shoes back on, and the uncoordinated walk persisted. He started falling down a lot; a lot even for a small boy. A doctor's visit revealed that Anthony had cancer in his brain. Mom never mentioned a specific type of cancer, and surviving family members do not recall a cancer type. But his symptoms and progression are consistent with DIPG. My parents were told it was a rooted tumor in his brainstem and was inoperable. Chemotherapy was a new thing back then, and the doctor didn't feel it would help him survive. They were told Anthony was going to die, and any treatment may prolong his life, but would also prolong his suffering. My parents opted for no treatment at all. Little by little, Anthony lost different body functions. He couldn't walk after a while. He couldn't defecate. One day he woke up panicking and screaming, "Mommy! Mommy! I can't see! I can't see! Why can't I see?" Every time my mother told that story, she would follow up his question with, "How do you explain that to a 3 year old?" My question is, how do you explain that to anybody? How do you explain that to me? I never even knew my brother and I hurt so much for what he had to endure. I can't understand why he had to suffer like that. Time from onset of symptoms to Anthony's final breath was about 4 months. He left behind two devastated parents and a sister who was a toddler and believes she has the faintest memory of him. I was one of two sisters who came after him, never existing at the same time. I only know my brother through the stories Mom told over and over. She couldn't stop talking about him. On the contrary, Dad couldn't talk about him. They grieved very differently, and that really made a lot of stress in the family. You see, once cancer invades your family, it's always there. Whether the child survives or not, the effects are forever.