GRECO ROMAN BOUZAKIS' STORY
Greco was born November 19, 2010. He was born at 2:22 a.m. I actually delivered him myself! I had always wanted to do that, but with Nic I was too exhausted, Vince came too fast and Jaclyn was taking so long that I just didn’t try. But with Greco, I was determined I would pull him out and I did.
Greco was a perfectly healthy baby from the start. We even left the hospital the very next day because he was in such good health. He was nursing well and having no problems at all. After all, I had already had 3 babies; I was good to go home early. My Mom was there to help a few days, but after she left, it was just the 6 of us. A happy family. We were living in Raleigh, NC at the time. Troy was working for a hospital system there and we were living in a rental apartment. Things were tight, a little bit tough, but we were so happy to be all under one roof.
Greco fit in with us right from the start. He was at every baseball game, soccer game, all of the practices, wrestling matches and tournaments. I remember going to one tournament in Raleigh and Troy was coaching and I was videotaping the match while nursing Greco. Greco learned to walk on the wrestling mats. Wrestling has been a part of our family life for a long time. When we found out we were having another boy, it was just an edgy thing to name him after wrestling. Yes, we have gotten plenty of strange looks from people, even our family members. Greco Roman Bouzakis isn’t your average name, and we wanted his name to be memorable. We knew he would be like his brothers and his father and his uncle. Great wrestlers! Why not name him after the sport we love? Why not name him after the oldest Olympic Sport that has made so many men great leaders? Greco was going to be a wrestler and a great leader one day. We knew it from the beginning.
Greco’s only visits to the pediatrician have been well checks. He has always been healthy, I think he has had 2 fevers in his lifetime. Yes, he has cracked his tooth when he fell one time. He has had loads of bumps and bruises and even a case of ringworm, thanks to his brother Nic. He was breastfed for 16 months straight and has always eaten well. A perfect child.
We moved to Tampa Florida in August 2012. An answer to prayer to get this opportunity to work in Tampa. Our house sold in SC and life was just falling into place. We immediately became involved in baseball and wrestling. I was still homeschooling the kids, so making a few moves from place to place would not be a problem. We found a long term rental so that we could take our time looking for a house to buy. We were finally settled in one place, everything we owned under one roof. This was the first time in years that we could say that all of our furniture was in the same house. What a relief to just have a spot to call home while we settled into our new life in Florida.
After celebrating Greco’s second birthday in Tampa we jumped into the wrestling circuit. We were attending practices at several clubs and started competing almost every weekend. Life was so busy with homeschooling, attending our homeschool co-op, and wrestling. We found a wonderful church and immediately made ourselves at home there. Grace Family Church was what we had been looking for. The messages each week always seem to speak to the needs we are having and the children just fell in love with the children’s program. God was at work in our lives and things were just wonderful. We felt sure we had been brought to Tampa for a special reason.We had found a great church home and a very wonderful wrestling family.
The boys started competing and almost immediately were winning matches. They were just like their Dad, naturals. So motivated we sought out tournaments everywhere. We even attended a state tournament in February where Nic took first! Vince did the same at another state tournament in May. We decided the kids were ready for a regional tournament and they both placed in all 3 styles in the Southeast Regional Tournament in Atlanta. Wow, so many accomplishments in just a few short months was unbelievable. They kept at it and earned themselves a wrestling mat for their birthdays!!
In August we decided to try a very intensive camp in Homestead. We had to call and get permission to attend as there was a waiting list and we were fortunate enough to get invited. We packed up the kids and headed to Homestead for a 3 day weekend of wrestling. Things were great, the kids were working hard, learning a lot and having fun. Great camp, great kids, and fantastic coaching. The last day of camp, was August 4th. That day changed the rest of our lives forever.
The night before we noticed Greco crossed his eye and it would not go back straight. When he stumbled while running a few times, we decided to call the pediatrician. It was late at night , so we were advised to take him first thing in the morning to have it checked out. Figuring it was just lazy eye or something of that nature, I decided to just take him alone and let Troy stay with the kids. I drove all the way to Miami and took him to the children’s hospital there. After an entire day of mostly waiting and finally getting a CAT scan, it was revealed that there was a mass on Greco’s brainstem! Doctors could tell us no more, as an MRI needed to be done to find out any more information. I was floored! I was alone and just completely dumbfounded!!
I called Troy and told him the news. I drove as fast as I could to get back to the wrestling camp to pick up the family so we could make the 5 hour drive home and to All Children’s Hospital for an MRI. That was the longest drive of my life. Sitting in the back sit was a seemingly healthy bunch of kids. Everybody was happy and acting silly as usual. Up front, Troy and I were stone silent. We knew that life had changed for us. And we didn’t know even have a diagnosis, but we knew it wasn’t good. How could this be happening to us?