If Sam gets the vein port, he no longer has to endure countless needle sticks for an IV or a shot. But if Sam runs a fever, he’ll need testing to determine whether an infection got into his blood through the port. So far the Lincolns have decided against it.

Like an Old Soul

Sam’s grandmother Jeanette, who until recently lived a few doors down from the Lincolns and served as Sam’s day-care provider, tells heart-warming stories about her grandson’s spirit.

Jeanette says she and Sam recently went to a baseball game to watch his Uncle Jeff play. “There were a bunch of children running around as we were walking along. A few kids ran by him and Sammy grabbed my hand, looked up at me and said, ‘Nanny, one of these days, I’m going to run just like those kids.’”

Another time, one of her friends visited while she was babysitting Sam. “She sat down with me at the kitchen table and Sammy climbed into her lap. She had just had some tests run, and so she had band-aids in the crook of her elbow from having blood drawn. Sam saw them, but he didn’t say a word to her,” says Jeanette. “He just reached out for my friend and rubbed the back of her hand with his own. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and I said, ‘He understands what you’ve been through.’ He didn’t have to say a word, he just held her hand. He was probably three years old at the time.”

“Sam’s like a little man,” says Christina. “He has such insight. He’s like an old soul. He just gets it, and he has from the beginning. There’s never a day that goes by that Sam doesn’t strive to accomplish something, whether it’s walking up the stairs rather than crawling up them, or climbing up on something.”

A few weeks ago, Sam walked across his grandmother’s yard. “For the rest of the kids [it’s easy], but for Sam it was a big deal,” says Jeanette. “The ground is uneven. There are rocks and sticks to climb over. He said, ‘Nanny, this is going to be hard work.’ And I said, ‘Yes, it is, but you can hold my hand and we can do it together.’”

“I wouldn’t change anything about my son,” says Christina. “I wish he wasn’t in pain every day, but I have to take comfort in knowing there’s a greater plan for him. All of this is teaching him something or it’s molding him into the man he’s going to become. “Sure I hope there’s a cure for arthritis down the road. But right now I’m just thankful that I had yesterday with Sam, and that I get today and tomorrow with him,” she says. “He’s a gift.”