When they had Zen checked for asthma, the doctor grew concerned about his head size, and Nick said that was the “first sign something was occurring.”
The doctors began testing Zen, and Nick revealed, “They didn’t let him leave the hospital. And so you could imagine you think you’re taking your son in to get a checkup for — at the worst, I was thinking asthma, you know? And to know that he gets diagnosed with brain cancer, that was a shock.”
Nick asked the doctors to “be up front,” and Zen was diagnosed with the brain cancer high-grade glioma.
They began taking medical action. “When we first went to the hospital, just to decrease his head from rapidly continuing to grow, there were a couple of procedures we were all for,” which included a shunt to drain fluid from the baby’s brain.
“That, to me, made logical sense. There was less pain on him, and the procedure was quick. It was all about quality of life,” the star said.
At that point, they learned the best-case scenario was that Zen would live to 3 or 4 years old. “So instantly when I heard that, I thought quality of life. I wanted him to have the best existence he could have,” Nick said.
Cannon said they were told chemo was an option, but due to where the tumor was located, it would “not really” improve his quality of life or lengthen it.
Nick shared, “Seeing your son hooked up to all of those machines — and he had to go for a shunt two or three times, and that was heartbreaking every time — even in that short amount of time, I couldn’t imagine him having to go through chemo.”
Cannon had previously gone through chemo for lupus and said he “knew what that did to me.”
“I knew how as a full-grown man, that process... My hair was falling out,” he said. “I wouldn’t even call it pain; it just sucked everything out of you. I couldn’t imagine that on a newborn and what that would do.”
Nick added, “He would have never gone home,” so he and Scott “went to the space of ‘we want to enjoy him and we want him to enjoy [us].’”
Looking back at their last days with Zen, he said it was “tough,” while praising Scott.
“I definitely couldn’t have did it without her. The fact that she was the one, from every aspect, she handled it,” he said. “We had some beautiful moments. We had the opportunity, we knew the transition was coming. It happened a lot faster than we thought, but even that last weekend I knew, ‘This is probably going to be the last weekend.’”
Cannon shared of their final day with Zen, “Luckily, we did everything from the sunrise, going to the beach, the sunset, said some beautiful prayers as a family, and really came together as a family in a very beautiful way. I’m grateful for that, but it was definitely tough. To see your child there, suffering at a point and watching things shut down, it was pretty intense.”
Now, Nick and Alyssa are expecting their second child together.