Nick Cannon said he and the mother of his 5-month-old son who died of brain cancer decided not to treat the infant with any invasive treatments, instead opting to give him the most comfortable life — however short it might be.
“We started asking, ‘Is there a way to prevent this? If not, how long do we have?'” Cannon told People magazine. “The conversations quickly turned to, ‘How can we give him the best life for the time that he does have?’ It could be weeks, it could be months, it could be years.”
Cannon and Alyssa Scott brought their son, Zen, to the doctor when they realized he had irregular breathing. At 2 months old, the baby was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Doctors placed a shunt in the infant’s skull to drain fluid, but the tumors in his head continued to grow.
But the parents decided not to subject Zen to chemotherapy.
“We were having quality-of-life conversations,” he said. “We could have had that existence where he would’ve had to live in the hospital, hooked up to machines, for the rest of the time.”
“From someone who’s had to deal with chemotherapy before, I know that pain. To see that happen to a 2-month-old, I didn’t want that. I didn’t want him to suffer,” said Cannon, who has lupus and has taken a chemo drug to treat it.
Cannon said he and Scott’s priority was making sure Zen was “as happy as he could possibly be.”
“We focused on Disneyland, our favorite place,” Cannon said. “Every month we would celebrate his birthday, just really seeing it as a victory every time he had a milestone that he was still here with us.”
Zen’s condition got worse over Thanksgiving.
“We’d wake up, and he wouldn’t be breathing for maybe five to 10 seconds at a time, and then he’d let out a huge gasp. You could see it frightened him. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced,’ Cannon said.