Let’s meet Sammy from Sammy: Hero at Age Five, a Juvenile Non-Fiction, by Mary L Schmidt. Welcome to Romance Lives Forever. I’m Kayelle Allen, author and owner of this blog. Happy to have you here! Please tell us about your latest book.
Sammy: Hero at Age Five by Mary L Schmidt
Genre Juvenile Non-Fiction
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): General
“Sammy: Hero at Age Five” is a book that breathes. It is a gallant saga of Sammy and his mother in battling cancer with incogitable courage and resolute determination. The story is a compelling, first-person narrative of the journey that Sammy and his mother undertook when cancer plagues Sammy. The story has Sammy, the child barely out of the toddler-stage, as the protagonist who gets affected with cancer but does not let it shred his substance, his spirit, his ebullience. The story is a slice of real life and it shines in its own glory of candor and courage. The story, with its impeccable sincerity, sets in the cascade of emotional pathways and the empathy is momentous and super-instant. The story does a mammoth job of air dropping the reader to a milieu in which the spirit of survivorship calls the shots, galloping courage sets the pace and unfolding of designs of destiny evokes the emotions. The child-like glee thickly layers the narrations of the mischiefs that Sammy and Gene (the brothers) indulged in. Their bond is profound and all scattered in the subtext, ‘two peas in a pod’ as the author sums up… the substance of the book is knitted with life-sized narration of events that induces a high-definition visual imagery, running on loop, giving a highway ride to the sensory nervous system. The incidents of childhood playfulness are peppered lavishly for the readers to know Sammy and his world before the pernicious designs of cancer came into existence. Yet, the sparkles of his eyes refused to bow down to the malicious intentions of cancer. The crisis is too real and crushing, with entire existence at stake. In the end the exposition is too powerful and surprising and Sammy’s heroic fight brings him perpetual glory like a soaring comet leaving a bright trail behind. He defeated bad guys, the cancer cells, and will continue to be a source of inspiration for millions of families who come across his life and the verve with which he lived it.
Every hero has a story. He has a background, a history, and a past. This interview allows us to meet a hero and get to know him better, by focusing on how he handles being relaxed, as well as how he handles stress.
Please tell me about your hero.
Age: 3.5 then age 5
Birthplace: Salina, Kansas
What does your hero look like?
Mom would say, and I agree, that I am a sweet, blond towheaded little boy full of playfulness, and I’m loving and caring.
Who is the significant other in his life?
My mom and my big brother, Gene, and Jesus are the main characters in my life and my book.
The Hero’s Relaxed Side
This hero is at a party. Considering his story, describe the party.
My brother, Gene, turned five today, and we had lots of fun eating his chocolate Superman birthday cake that mom baked, and new toys were all over the house. I think we tried to outdo each other with all the noise we made, and we loved having friends over to our house and enjoy the party.
How does the hero feel about being this particular party, and what body language is he displaying that gives it away?
I was wearing a huge smile, and having fun in the moment, fun in being a three-year-old little boy soon to be age four. I feel great today and I have no sign of any illness or disease at all! I love being a healthy and happy 3 ½ year old precocious little boy. My brother, Gene, and I have lots of energy after eating that cake mom baked. Mom took pictures of us during the party and I smiled big!
Is he more likely to mingle or remain aloof?
I sat next to my brother when we ate some birthday cake. Afterwards we ran around with the guests and played with toys and read new books. Everyone was smiling and laughing along with each other. All the guests had a good time, too. I was a little tornado running around just like my brother, Gene. We also rode around on our red Big Wheels in and out of our garage with the other kids.
If he drinks, what is his drink of choice at this party?
How much drink is his usual?
The hero figures out where the hiding places are and then goes there. Is it to hide, to avoid someone, or to go drag a friend back to the party?
I hid under the dining room table and I was quiet. I was waiting for my brother to walk by so I could jump up and scare him! I did just that very thing and Gene yelled out – I got him good. Then we started running and playing tag with each other and the other kids. Mom let us burn off all the energy we had and then things quieted down.
Is he likely to latch onto a friend and stay with him/her and ignore others, or is he the friend that others latch onto?
Playing with the birthday boy – my brother Gene – was a large part of the afternoon. We both had friends at the party, and we played with the new toys. One friend read a book to Gene and me. We played together mostly, and with friends too.
If someone picked a fight at this party, how is the hero going to handle it?
No one fought.
Is the hero the one most likely to get tossed out of the party, or the one who does the tossing?
I wasn’t tossed out of the party, but Mom closed the party down after two hours. She set a time limit and we had to stick to it. Mom was the boss.
Will he know when to leave, or stay late and make a nuisance of himself?
Gene and I were still happy and smiling when Mom made us takes a bath that evening. Later, we went to bed with a new toy next laid next to us and I saw mom smile as she closed the door to our bedroom.
The Hero’s Stressed Out Side
How does the hero handle it if the cops or some other authority figure pulls him aside when he was blameless in a situation?
(((At this point in the story, I am almost five and I was going to end up in the big hospital in Kansas City.)))
Mom took me to see yet another doctor who doctored ears, noses, and throats. Two days later, the doctor put tubes inside my ears. He had trouble getting the tube in my right ear to stay in place, and he didn’t take the time to find out why this was so. My cancer tumor could have been found if he had only looked. On follow-up visits all I was given was another antibiotic. My head hurt. I had a Big Head Hurt! I never told Mom that my head hurt though. Two weeks later, Mom was horrified to find the right side of my face drooping. The doctors could not tell her why this was, and she let them know that they better figure things out fast! All I did was see doctors for over six months! I was put into an ambulance for a trip to a bigger hospital. I was crying in pain and scared, and I wanted my Mom.
How does the hero react to hearing a scream?
The ambulance took me to the big hospital in Kansas City. I was scared the whole way there and Mom couldn’t be with me in the ambulance. Later, Mom came into my hospital room, and I knew then that she followed behind the ambulance. Mom just had to walk through a different entrance to get to me. I was scared and crying. My head and neck hurt bad. I had a big, bad head hurt! Finally, Mom took me back to the hospital in Salina, and they finally said I had cancer of my head and neck, and it spread to both lungs. It was Stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma!
If he sees someone being assaulted, what is the FIRST thing that crosses his mind?
The doctors and nurses poked me and ran some tests. I had to have a Hickman placed in my chest so I could receive IV’s through it. I started chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After two weeks, my head didn’t hurt anymore! I was happy about that, but I missed my brother who was 230 miles away from Mom and me. Radiation was scary and Mom could not be with me when I received those treatments. One doctor told me that I had little cancer ghosts (bad guys) in my body that made me sick. He said the chemo and radiation were the good guys, and that they would kill the bad guys so I would get well. Ghostbusters was one of my favorite movies to watch, so I imagined how the good guys would go after the bad cancer ghosts. I’m just a little boy, just turned age five after four weeks in Kanas City. Mom helped me make things fun. I had birthday money to spend in a gift shop and Mom put me in a wheelchair and took me all over the big hospital.
If he sees someone being assaulted, what is the FIRST thing he does?
One day I saw a little boy with no hair on his head, and I wondered if that would happen to me. I touched my head and I still had hair. I was curious about Mom because I would hear her talking to someone named God. I saw many kids in the hospital and some only had part of a leg! We all got to go to school on the hospital unit and my teacher was nice.
The next morning, Mom found my golden blonde hair all over my bed. I could tell she was crying and doing her best to hide it from me. I touched my head and knew I looked like the other kids on my hospital unit, but I never cried. I was going to be tough and hide my tears deep inside of me. Later that same day, Mom came back from the nurses’ desk and caught me trying to feed my goldfish some 7-up. I guess goldfish don’t drink what we drink. My goldfish found a new home, and that was okay with me.
This hero attempts to rescue someone and realizes that he is in over his head. The odds are against him and there is no way out. He is going to get his butt handed to him. What does he do?
I did not want to be in the hospital any longer, and I wanted the doctor to give me all the good guys at once so I could go home. The outside of my neck felt like it was on fire, so Mom put Aquaphor on my skin. My radiation treatment caused my skin to burn and hurt. I was sick and could not eat for over seven months.
I woke up in the middle of the night a few days later. I was hungry and I wanted watermelon. I demanded watermelon. The patient refrigerator didn’t have any and the kitchen didn’t have any, so Mom told me she was going to find a store with watermelon, and she did just that! I ate half of the watermelon Mom brought back to me. I had watermelon juice all over me and I was grinning. I was a happy little boy right then and my tummy was full. That was my first taste of food in a long time.
The hero runs into the one person from his past he wanted to avoid. He can’t get out of the situation and must interact in some way. What does he do?
The doctor came in to tell Mom that a biopsy (a tiny piece of tissue to look at) of my lung needed to be done. The surgery would not be done at this time though. They were talking about the good things, and the bad things that could happen during surgery. To do the biopsy, I would have open lung surgery. I was anxious and then I heard Mom praying for me to God. I decided it was time for me to get to know God! I never told Mom, but I did start talking with the Lord and I learned about Heaven. I think Mom didn’t tell me about Heaven because she was afraid that if she did, I would go to heaven and she would be sad.
The hospital had a lot of kids who were sick, I didn’t understand why so many kids were sick with cancer, and I wondered what God thought of this.
Someone younger than the hero is in charge of the situation, and they are handling it badly, perhaps bungling things. How does the hero deal with it?
The days started running together again, and I was tired of being here. I wanted to go home! My doctor said it was too early for me to go home. That evening, Mom and I spoke with my big brother, Gene, on the phone. I told my brother I wanted to come home for a visit, but the doctor had said no. Seven days later I got to go HOME! I had been in the hospital for 140 days, and now my doctor said I could go home! I got to go home! I was grinning about going home. Mom loaded her car with my things and a nurse helped her. By the time we got home, it was late and nighttime! Mom set up my IV stuff and got me on my TPN – my IV food. She waited until I fell asleep before unloading the rest of our things from her car. Gene was awake when we home, and after my sponge bath, I talked to everyone! I hugged Gene lots of times and we played and talked. I had to go back to the hospital four days later. Brother and I cried when Mom and I had to leave.
The hero is in physical pain but must bear up under it and keep going. What does he tell himself in order to get through the situation?
The next day, I wasn’t allowed to drink anything, as I was going to have surgery on my lung. The plan was to do a biopsy on the one big spot in one lung. Mom still looked worried to me. I could just tell. Sometimes moms are not aware of kids picking up anxiety from them.
In the early afternoon, Mom went with me and the staff down to the surgery area. I started asking her lots of questions about surgery. There was a nurse, Mom, and me in the room outside the operating room. I told Mom that I remembered they were going into my right lung and that I would be in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) after the surgery.
Then I asked my her a Big Question. I looked into her eyes and asked her, “Am I going to die?” Mom was stunned. The nurse went quiet.
Mom finally told me no—I wasn’t going to die.
Then I asked, “Am I going to go to Heaven where Shane is?”
Mom finally told me, “Only if God really needs you right now.”
“I want to go to Heaven, Mom,” I said innocently. Then I repeated, “I want to go to Heaven, Mom.”
It took a while, but Mom finally replied, “We don’t always get what we want in life, so you might have to stay with Mom for a while.” Mom didn’t understand. I was tired of the pain and surgeries. She didn’t know I talked to Jesus a lot. She didn’t know what Heaven was like. But Jesus talked with me many times, and I knew Heaven was a wonderful place. I loved Jesus. Then they wheeled me into surgery.
What mentor’s words come to mind in a bad situation?
I came through the surgery okay and I left ICU for the children’s unit. I was back in my old room! I heard Mom and a nurse talking, and the nurse told Mom that little Dot died today—she had cancer. Mom told her that God had another angel child in Heaven. Mom didn’t know this, but I already knew Dot was in Heaven because Jesus told me. We watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV before I went to sleep. Two weeks later, Mom gave me a huge surprise! She took me to Swope Park and the Kansas City Zoo! Mom put me in a zoo stroller since I wasn’t strong enough to walk the zoo hills. I got to ride a Shetland pony with a real saddle, and I fed a giraffe. Have you ever fed a giraffe? Do you know how tall they are? It was a Big Zoo and I had a lot of fun with Mom.
What lesson from his past gets him through a stressful situation?
A week later my heart started to beat fast! They kept me on a monitor, and I received packed red blood cells, too. My heart went up as high as 170. No one could figure out why, except maybe my chemo caused heart damage. The next day I stopped breathing for about 20 seconds. I kept doing this off and on, so Mom would shake my shoulder and I would breathe again. My nurse watched me a lot, also. I knew all of this because Mom told me about it. Respiratory Therapy drew blood gas (arterial blood) from my wrist, I never felt the needle and I didn’t wake up. I was taken to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit), as I was not conscious. I stayed the same all day and all night the next night. Mom didn’t know it, but I was with Jesus. Jesus was helping me by giving my body and my head a break from my cancer battle. I rested with Jesus as he told me about my Big Battle yet to come. The next morning, I just sort of “woke up” for Mom. Jesus had helped me back into my body and I just opened my eyes and blinked at the bright lights of PICU. I turned my head and looked at Mom. She was so happy! By noon I was off oxygen and back in my room on 5D. None of my doctors or nurses had any idea why this episode happened, but I knew. I had to rest with Jesus before my Big Battle. I didn’t tell Mom about Jesus and my Big Battle.
Seven months after being diagnosed with cancer, I caught a germ and it got into my lungs. My Big Battle had begun. I was rushed to PICU, I kept thrashing around in bed like crazy from oxygen depletion, and they had a special oxygen mask on me that forced me to breathe. But my lungs were too damaged. Finally, platelets were flown in for me from Wichita, and they were given to me in a Big syringe while my doctor tried to intubate me with a special breathing tube. It took him two times and I was terrified. Then I was hooked up to a ventilator (a breathing machine). We had to wait for platelets first or I would have bled to death and gone to Heaven. Mom stayed with me the whole time all of this was going on. Mom was with me when I was intubated. My body was kept eating up all my packed red blood cells and platelets. My organs had been starved of oxygen for over ten hours yesterday. I was terrified and in pain.
What one thing would you like readers to know about your hero?
I knew I wouldn’t win my Big Battle, and I also knew that I had to fight this battle because Jesus had told me so. I received bunches of blood, platelets, antibiotics, and more for fifteen days. Mom gave me sponge baths, and she put ointment in my eyes. She talked with me all the time and she read books to me. I couldn’t move because medicine was in me to keep me from pulling on tubes and wires.
On October 15, 1990, at 11:35 p.m. my heart stopped while Mom had her arms around me, as she held me the last fifteen minutes of my time on Earth. I was now in Heaven and with Jesus, and my Big Battle was over. Then Mom rocked my body in her arms for a good fifteen minutes.
Staff from the 5D nursing unit at KUMC drove 230 miles for my service. I meant that much to the nursing staff! The autopsy result came in and revealed that I was free of cancer. I had no cancer! I won my cancer battle! That is how I became a hero at age five!
Where to buy Sammy: Hero at Age Five
Publisher Fresh Ink Group and M Schmidt Productions
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sammy-m-schmidt/1130900239?ean=9781947867291
Mary L Schmidt Social Media
Mary L Schmidt aka S Jackson is a retired registered nurse, winner of the Leora Stroup award in Nursing for academic excellence and community involvement, as well as graduating with high honors and inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She has written 17 books and has been included in three anthologies. Many of her books have won international medals and awards. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school music children. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her health allows. Together with her husband, Michael, the like fish, read, play poker, travel adventures, and spending precious time with their grandchildren, Austin and Emma.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/S-Jackson/e/B013NRRKR2?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1563485698&sr=1-1
Art Gallery: https://www.deviantart.com/mschmidtartwork