Monday, May 28, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Melton family is looking over paperwork for church camp this summer. Average family plans for a family whose last year has been anything but average.
Nick started out with a general stomachache and a low-grade fever, but then it seemed to be more than an average virus.
Sharon Melton, Nick's mother, wanted answers, so she kept bringing him to doctors.
Her son's reaction was typical of a 13-year-old boy.
"I'm just gonna sit there and be bored, get a needle stuck in me," Nick said.
X-rays showed nothing, so doctors ordered a CT scan. The call with the results came back 20 minutes later -- and the news wasn't good.
"I just never would have thought that my world was gonna come crashing down with my mom telling me I have a tumor," Nick said.
He was ordered into surgery the next day. But after five hours, doctors had grim news. The tumor was large and positioned right on Nick's aorta.
Over the next several months, Nick and his family met with the best surgeons at GHSU'S Children's Medical Center.
Nick's second surgery was expected to take 16 hours. The tumor was entwined in parts of Nick's pancreas, left adrenal gland, stomach, left kidney, spleen and aorta.
Before the surgery, churches in North Augusta came together to show their support for Nick, who was just 14 years old at the time.
Amazingly, the second surgery was a huge success.
"When I first woke up after that second surgery, I do remember my dad was sitting there and he told me. I just remember putting my head back like that and saying, 'Thank you Lord,'" Nick said.
The Meltons call Nick's experience a miracle. They believe God helped them find the right hospital and the right surgeons. Other children and staff at the Children's Medical Center became like a family to the Meltons.
Nick began to recover, keeping a positive attitude.
"The worst is over now. All I gotta do is just rehab. And I have a pretty big responsibility of going out and telling people, 'Yeah, Jesus is real. He saved my life,'" Nick said.
As Nick prepares for high school, and his little sister prepares for middle school, their parents say all they want is a healthy family and a completely average summer.