It's not often you want to get close to a 13-year-old boy's bare feet, but for Nolen Grubbe a smelly, normal foot is what this past year's been all about.
"Because it was pretty big, like a kiwi, and now it's like a little jelly bean," said Nolen talking about the tumor he found on the bottom of his foot a year ago. A cancer so rare, doctors wanted to amputate. "I said no, no, no, no, no," said Nolen's mom Tuesday Rose-Grubbe. "There was no way. I was going to go to every single doctor I could possibly find and I didn't care how far away I went. It was not going to happen."
With mom's insistence, St. Luke's doctors looked through medical research and changed course.
They opted for an aggressive plan including weekly chemotherapy and once-a-month hospital stays to push extra cancer-fighting poison.
Five months into the treatment was almost too much for Nolen's body to take. Emergency surgery revealed the chemo had ruined his gall bladder and started to affect his liver.
"That was the first time I let myself cry and scream and yell," Tuesday said while tearing up.
For every mother there is a breaking point, but even as Tuesday hit hers, she remained steadfast in her resolve for her son to keep his foot.
After eight days in a coma, Nolen pulled through. It was a long road, but this past March celebratory bells and nurses singing filled his hospital room to celebrate his last blast of chemotherapy 63 rounds later.
A mom's choice, a mom's fight, justified.
"I'm done. I did it. I did the right thing. My baby is going to be OK," cried Tuesday.