It was such a foreign feeling leaving Vaughn alone with the doctors. We weren’t allowed to be with him for the MRI. We waited for what felt like forever for them to finish the scan. My husband and I spent that time calling our families, crying, and just holding one another. Finally, they called us and had us go up to the PICU where they had admitted Vaughn indefinitely. Up there waiting for us was the hospital’s head neuro oncologist, ready to go over Vaughn’s MRI. My heart sunk farther down into my chest with his every word. Vaughn didn’t have just one tumor in his brain, he had multiple tumors throughout his brain and spine. At that moment, way deep down inside me, I think I knew he wasn’t going to make it. But I wasn’t ready to admit it. I wasn’t ready to lose hope. We had to fight for him. The doctors made us believe he had a chance to survive, so we fought with everything we had to make that happen.
#vaughndanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #cancersucks #nannydog #buttersandthebaby #thedodo #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #standupforpits #spreadtherumer #ourpitpage #bullbreedsofinsta

I’m sorry I haven’t written in a few days. My anxiety has been a bit disruptive and I wanted to give myself a break from reliving the nightmare we endured four years ago. I do want to thank everyone for your love and support. Your kind words have lifted my spirits when I needed it most. Now back to our story...
I couldn’t tell you how long we waited but I do know we were frustrated. We couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just start an IV and get Vaughn rehydrated. Vaughn was miserable and we just wanted someone to help him. Finally, the male doctor and a nurse walked into our curtain area. The doctor said he wanted us to come with him and that the nurse would stay and watch Vaughn. I was confused, though my initial thought was that they had found some sort of injury that made them believe we abused our son. I’ve seen too many medical dramas I guess. They led us into an office and told us to have a seat. (Gosh, my heart is pounding as I write this.) I honestly had no idea what they were about to say. We waited for the female doctor to get off the phone and then they both turned, looked at us, and took a deep breath. “The CT scan of your son’s head showed a mass in his brain.” And that was the moment that changed my life forever. I remember my face instantly feeling red hot. I felt dizzy in my head, and my hands and feet tingled as the blood rushed away from them. I felt shaky and wondered if I would soon pass out. I was in complete shock. My worst nightmare had come true.
After going over the details of what would happen next, they led us back to Vaughn. All I wanted to do was hold him. As I hugged him and kissed his cheeks, devastation filled my heart. I had failed him as a mom. My job was to keep him safe and I had failed. I just kept whispering, “I’m sorry baby. I’m so so sorry.” They finally started an IV on him and prepared him for an MRI. They wanted to scan his little body to see if the mass had metastasized. While we waited, I decided to go out to the hallway and call my sister to tell her the news. As I spoke the words over the phone, my voice became shrill and I finally started to cry. (Continued in the comments)

During the three days we were home from the hospital after Vaughn was diagnosed with cancer, my sweet friend Rebecca set up a photo shoot for us to get a few pictures of Vaughn in his Halloween costume. Of course he was going to be a puppy and we couldn’t wait to see him all dressed up. Unfortunately, the shoot didn’t go as planned and he cried through most of it. But the photographer did manage to get this one moving image of him finding comfort in the arms of his dada. I will forever be grateful to have this one special picture of my beautiful, sweet baby boy.
#VaughnDanger #morethan4 #endchildhoodcancer #fightwithvaughndanger #cancersucks #thedodo

On this day four years ago, Vaughn and Butters were reunited for the first time since Vaughn was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was doing well at that point so the doctors let us go home for a few days to relax before chemo started. My wonderful sister and her awesome boyfriend had graciously been watching Butters at their house so we asked that they bring Butters home so we could all be together as a family. These are the pictures of Vaughn and Butters’ precious reunion. The first time they had seen each other in 12 days. These are also the last pictures I have of the two of them together. A few days later we would take Vaughn back to the hospital and Butters would never see his baby brother again.
#ButtersandtheBaby #onelasttime #finalreunion #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #nannydog #vaughndanger #morethan4 #cancersucks #endchildhoodcancer #fightwithvaughndanger #spreadtherumer #thedodo #dogsgrievetoo #standupforpits #ourpitpage #bullbreedsofinsta

So on the morning of October 14, 2014, we took Vaughn to the ER at Rady Children’s Hospital. We suspected he had the flu and took him there to be rehydrated since he hadn’t been able to keep anything down for almost three days. Of course when we got there, Vaughn perked up and started acting like his normal happy self. We worried that we overreacted and debated taking him back home. Thank goodness we decided to stay. Upon intake, the nurse immediately asked about is droopy right eye. We told her about what his nurse practitioner had said but she still seemed concerned. She immediately took us back to a curtain area where we waited for the doctor. A male doctor finally came in, took a history, and examined Vaughn. He was focusing on Vaughn’s droopy eye but all we really wanted were some IV fluids so we could go home. He said he thought the eye could be droopy from sleeping on his right side all the time but that he wanted to get a second opinion. I honestly didn’t think much of it at that point. I had no idea that anything serious could be wrong. A while later a female doctor came in. She asked some of the same questions the first doctor did but said she was not comfortable with the droopy eye. She then offered to do a CT scan. With the way she presented it, she made it sound like the CT scan would rule out anything serious and then we could focus on rehydrating him. We agreed to do the scan for peace of mind. I guess my biggest worry, in that moment, was that they would find something wrong with my baby’s eye.
They took him back for the scan pretty quickly and, thankfully, we got to go with him. He was so strong and so brave. They strapped him so tight and gave him a pacifier soaked in sugar water to calm him. He stayed perfectly still and didn’t cry once. I was so proud.
Afterwards, we went back to our curtain area while they gathered the results. We held our baby boy and waited. Our last moments of innocence...
#VaughnDanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #ButtersandtheBaby #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #spreadtherumer #thedodo #standupforpits #ourpitpage #bullbreedsofinsta #cancersucks

About a month after Vaughn passed away, Matt and I went to the cemetery for the first time since his funeral. While we were there I looked off in the distance and movement caught my eye. It was a beautiful coyote running along the base of the mountain. I immediately ran up the grass hill to the road to get a closer look and when I stopped, there it stood staring at me. It’s almost like it was smiling. What a gorgeous animal! It stared at me for a few seconds then slowly trotted off into the wilderness. At the time I thought it was just a neat coincidence but now I’m sure that Vaughn played a part in me seeing that coyote. Knowing my love of dogs, he knew a coyote would get my attention. Just another sign from my sweet angel. 💗
#ButtersandtheBaby #thedodo #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #spreadtherumer #bullbreedsofinsta #nannydog #standupforpits #ourpitpage #vaughndanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #cancersucks

Being his mom, obviously I thought Vaughn was the most beautiful child in the entire world. Well, when he was about eight months old, I ended up entering one of his pictures (I don’t remember which one) into a cute kid contest just for funsies. He didn’t win but it was fun anyway. Days before Vaughn got sick, I submitted another picture (pic 2) to the contest. With the cancer diagnosis and the chaos that followed, of course we forgot about the contest. Well wouldn’t you know, the day before he died they called me saying his was one of top photos and that he had won a free photo shoot. A photographer was going to come to our house and everything. Really universe?! Such a slap in the face.
#ButtersandtheBaby #thedodo #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #nannydog #vaughndanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #spreadtherumer #standupforpits #ourpitpage #bullbreedsofinsta #endbsl

Many people have asked if Vaughn showed any signs of being sick before he was diagnosed. Looking back, the answer is yes but they were all things that could be explained away. And even if we he had been diagnosed when we first felt concern, it likely would not have changed the outcome. He probably still would have died. The cancer was just too aggressive.
It started in September when he became somewhat fussy when, normally, he was an extremely happy baby. We thought he may have been teething so we didn’t think much of it. But then he started tilting his head to the left (pic 4) and we started to feel concerned. On October 2nd, 2014, I took him to his pediatrician’s office and saw one of the nurse practitioners. She briefly checked him out and told us his molars were coming through and that him tilting his head was his way of coping with the pain. She said to come back if it didn’t resolve within a week. Well, it did get better but we still felt uneasy. Thankfully, his wellness visit was scheduled for a week later on October 9th. I took him in and we saw a different nurse practitioner. (His regular doctor was not available) I told her about the head tilt and she agreed with the other practitioner. I then told her how we recently noticed that Vaughn’s right eye would get a little droopy when he was tired. She asked if he mainly slept on his right side and he did so she explained that the droopiness was likely from that. She then had me lay him back on the table so she could examine his belly but when I did, he completely panicked. His arms went flailing and he tried to grab for me like he completely lost his balance or got super dizzy. I immediately asked the NP what that was all about and she dismissed it saying I just laid him back too fast. It freaked me out so I began telling her how he had been fussy for the last month and how he had regressed with his sleep. Not only did she tell me that those were all normal things a nine month old goes through, but she began to treat me like I was a crazy mom who worried about every little thing. She even made me feel guilty about not wanting to give Vaughn a flu shot. I felt so confused. (Continued in the comments)

When I learned I was pregnant with Vail, a part of me was sad that she would grow up never knowing her amazing brother, Vaughn. Of course we planned to tell her about him and make sure she knew he will always be a part of our family but I never expected the two of them to have any kind of bond.
Well, within days of bringing Vail home from the hospital, we would catch her staring at the pictures of Vaughn we had around the house. At first, we didn’t think much of it because a newborn’s eyes can’t see very far and we figured she was just staring off into the distance. But the more we watched her, the more we realized she was only staring at pictures of Vaughn. And then one day when she was about two and a half weeks old, I laid her on my bed so I could get dressed. Moments later I looked over at her and she had a giant smile on her face. Her first smile! I followed her line of sight to see what was making her so happy and, amazingly, she was looking directly at a picture of her big brother, Vaughn. It would be another week before she would smile at her own mother. Haha.
Even her dad couldn’t get her to smile. She had colic and didn’t like him much at first. To try and bond with her, he used to sit on the couch and prop her on his legs so she was facing him. Well, Vail used to trick him and make him think she was smiling at him but actually there was a picture of Vaughn behind him. (See the last picture) Vail used to look past her dad every time and smile these big, open-mouth smiles at Vaughn. It’s like she knew him. I can’t explain it but it was something truly magical. I’m not sure how the whole heaven thing works but witnessing something like this has given me hope that I will see my baby boy again. Maybe the saying is true...”Hand picked for earth by my brother in Heaven.”
#ButtersandtheBaby #nannydog #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #cancersucks #vaughndanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #standupforpits #ourpitpage #spreadtherumer #bullbreedsofinsta #endbsl #thedodo

I feel like I need to share something on the happier side today.
During Vaughn’s final days, we did anything and everything we could to make him as comfortable as possible. One of the things we tried was rubbing lavender essential oil on his feet. The nurse suggested it and happened to have some with her so she gave us a tiny bit of hers. We rubbed it on his feet every few hours until it ran out. The whole room smelled like lavender that night. After the oil ran out we kind of forgot about it. We obviously had other things on our minds. Well, a week or two later, after Vaughn had passed, I was home alone sitting on the couch watching tv. All of a sudden an overwhelming scent of lavender filled my nose. It stunned me. I started smelling myself, my clothes, the couch, and anything that was around me. I could not find the source of the lavender. And then, just like that, it was gone.
I know we all have different beliefs but I choose to believe that it was Vaughn saying hello. It was his way of letting me know that he is still with me. It was the first of many signs he has given me since he died. I’m so thankful for those precious signs. They bring me peace and give me hope that one day we will meet again. ❤️
#VaughnDanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #buttersandthebaby #nannydog #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #thedodo #spreadtherumer #ourpitpage #standupforpits #bullbreedsofinsta

First of all, thank you so much to everyone for the abundance of love and support. I’m overwhelmed by the kindness of each and every one of you. ❤️
After Vaughn passed away, my therapist recommended I write letters to him to help sort out my feelings. Here is one I wrote to him on January 20th, 2015. I will always be thankful that I am his mom.
Dear Vaughn, Even though our time together was far too short, I am still thankful that you were in my life. As much as my heart hurts now, I would never trade loving you for anything. I want to remember how thankful I am and not only think about my pain. I am thankful that you got to meet my dad, Grandpa George. He wanted to be a grandpa so bad and you made his life worth living those last five months. I'm thankful my dad didn't have to see you sick. It would have shattered his world and his heart. I'm thankful I did Mommy and Me class with you. I got to watch you play and interact with other kids. And I bonded with you in a way we hadn't experienced before. I'm thankful I had a chance to dance with you in the rain. Everything was exciting with you. You made me slow down and experience the small things again. I'm thankful you were such a happy, content baby. Not for my sake but for yours. The last month of your life was awful and terrible and cruel but I'm thankful your first nine months were joyful. I'm thankful that you had Butters in your life and got to experience the love of a dog. You and Butters helped show the world that pitbulls are wonderful, loving animals. I'm thankful that I took you places like the zoo, the beach, the fair. You loved animals and you loved the water. We, your dad and I, had talked about getting you a fish tank for Christmas or your birthday. I'm thankful I lived life with you like there was no tomorrow. I took thousands of pictures, created new experiences, wrote down our memories in your baby book. I'm so thankful I did because now there is no tomorrow with you. And maybe I always knew that. When I used to sing You Are My Sunshine to you, the part "please don't take my sunshine away" used to always get to me. Now I know why. It isn’t fair that you’re gone. (Continued in comments)

Hi friends, Butters’ mom here. Four years ago today, my beautiful baby boy had the first of four major surgeries to try and save his life. Two days prior, on October 14th, 2014, we had been given the news that our son had a brain tumor. Our lives have never been the same since the day. I try to keep Butters’ page light and happy, but if it’s alright with you guys, I’d like to share a little bit of Vaughn’s story everyday up until November 8th, the day he passed away. My heart has been heavy and my mind full of anxiety lately. I feel like writing about him might help ease my pain. Thank you for listening and allowing me to celebrate my sweet boy. He was and still is my everything. ❤️ #vaughndanger #morethan4 #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #buttersandthebaby #nannydog #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #spreadtherumer #thedodo #bullbreedsofinsta #standupforpits #ourpitpage

Two innocent souls bonded from the moment Vaughn was born to the moment he died. Though I wish this picture was better quality, it still captures their relationship perfectly. Trust, comfort, and love. Neither could talk and yet each knew just what the other needed. I’m lucky to have witnessed such a special moment in time. ❤️
#ButtersandtheBaby #nannydog #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #VaughnDanger #cancersucks #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #thedodo #spreadtherumer #teamfloppyears #endbsl #bullbreedsofinsta #standupforpits #ourpitpage

This picture popped up on mom's FB memories today and she felt the need to share. How was this four years ago?! I love how we both have the same expression on our faces. Mom was feeding us those baby yogurt snacks and my guess is that we were annoyed when she stopped to take a picture. Anyway, I always try to keep my posts light but it's getting to be that difficult time of year for my family. This sweet, innocent little boy was my very best friend and I will never understand why he taken from us too soon.
#ButtersandtheBaby #nannydog #pitbullsandkids #kidswithdogs #VaughnDanger #thedodo #fightwithvaughndanger #endchildhoodcancer #cancersucks #morethan4 #spreadtherumer #endbsl #bullbreedsofinsta #standupforpits #ourpitpage

#Flashback over four years to when my brother #VaughnDanger used crack up watching me and Nina play. I will never forget his beautiful laugh for as long as I live. 💙
#FightwithVaughnDanger #childhoodcancerawareness #endchildhoodcancer #gogold #morethan4 #pitbullsandkids #ButtersandtheBaby #nannydog #kidswithdogs #spreadtherumer #ourpitpage #thedodo #bullbreedsofinsta #standupforpits

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