October 2006, early afternoon.
I gathered Ethan and Austin to go get the results for Ethan's MRI. I planned to take the boys to Chuck E. Cheese after the what had become routine follow ups with Dr. Bradley. D wanted to go with us, but I told him it would be okay and it wasn't worth him taking a day off to be in the doctor's office for 15 minutes.
We arrived at the hospital, valet parked (I am 8 months prego by now) stopped to look at the train display and took the elevator up to see the surgeon. We were called back very quickly and told to take a seat in the office.
Dr. Bradley came in, spoke to Ethan, turned on the light on his desk, put the scans on the screen, sat down, turned around to me and said .. " we have a problem. " He reminded me about our first visit with him 3 years prior that if at any time the tumor grew or moved, the recommendation would change from wait to let's get this thing out. I told him I remembered that conversation unfortunately, very well.
The main reason they did not take the tumor out when Ethan was initially diagnosed in June 2006 was because of the location. It was deep inside his brain, near the brain stem. They couldn't even test the mass to see if it was cancerous because of the location. The surgeons said that it was too risky to go in and that they would control the seizures with medicine. To do anything different would endanger Ethan's quality of life.
Their biggest concerns for my then 6 year old son were memory loss, some vision loss, paralysis and speech issues. It was better to try and get him seizure free than operate. Dr. Bradley had always maintained that if the tumor started to grow at any time, he would move forward with the surgery. If we waited to too long, he may not be able to perform surgery at all.
He said, we are at that point right now. I could not move. What did you say? He repeated, we are at that point. Ethan's tumor has grown and we are now at a point where we have to take it out. Has he had any seizures? No, I said. Blurred vision? No, I said. Headaches? No, I said. To everything he asked me, NO was my answer.
I could not believe we were at this point. Ethan had NOT had a seizure in a year and a half. He was doing better than ever in school. He was playing basketball. He was asking a ton of questions about things. He was HAPPY! NOTHING on the outside demonstrated his tumor was growing. ooooohhhh, but on the inside a storm was brewing.
I cried and tried to stop because Ethan had no clue. All he knew was that his mommy was falling apart. I didn't want to scare him. Boys can be soooo adoring towards their mommies. I had to get it together. The doctor told me it would be okay and that his assistant would make the arrangements and call us with a date. Date? Date? What do you mean date? Dr. Bradley said more than likely they would wait for the baby's birth (November 2006) and schedule the surgery for Christmas break, early January.
His assistant took me to her desk and talked to me, trying to calm me down. She talked about some other children who had this same surgery and were doing well. She gave me a few tissues and then discovered I needed the whole box. Each time she would tell me about a child, I would cry even more. She finally stopped and said .. " Ethan will be in good hands". Dr. Bradley is the best.
We finally left the office and came home. I couldn't even think. I didn't even call D. I called OUT to the Lord!!!!! We got home and Ethan wanted to watch TV. "Yes, of course, I said, anything you want." I would let him literally hang the moon if he wanted. All I could do was stare at him and stare at his head. Eventually, I called D and broke the news. Nothing I said made sense. D is the calm, level headed person in this marriage and this situation was no different. He said, honey, God WILL take care of Ethan. He knows what we are facing, Ethan's tumor did NOT catch Him by surprise, He is an all knowing God and He WILL take care of Ethan.
Wow, wish I had thought of that. Of course, I knew it in my head, BUT my heart .. all together different. So, I cried more and called my Pastor. I screamed, I mean left a message with his administrative assistant and when Pastor called back, I screamed more and tried to clearly explained what had happened. Again I was met with a calm headed, level headed response to my outbursts. My Pastor prayed with me and told me to keep him apprised of the situation.
Once D got home, I replayed the whole day for him and cried more. It made no sense, no seizures in over a year and a half. The thing we wanted the most and now this? We had gotten comfortable with our somewhat return to normalcy and now we were facing the removal of the tumor and losing the Ethan we had come to know again.
D and I prayed and prayed some more. We always pray for discernment. The next day we decided to call all the pediatric specialists and surgeons around the country who had provided second, third, fourth and fifth opinions for us .... AGAIN!