Wednesday, November 6, 2013
What...McDreamy isn't real? by Jessica Warren
It hadn’t even been 24 hr. since we found out about the brain tumor and we were already on our way to see a specialist at Sparrow Hospital. I woke up that morning with determination. I had imagined meeting Derek Shepherd from the all too famous series Grey’s Anatomy. He was going to go over the plan on how to take this thing that had disrupted our lives, out of my sons head. I had my heart set on it. We asked Jamie and Michael to come with us to record the conversation with the doctor knowing we wouldn’t be able to remember everything. The ride in was a little apprehensive but I think Jamie and I were on the same page. We go in, get the extraction plan, get out and move on with our lives. I felt good. I felt I was choosing the fate of my son. I felt in a little more control than the day before. We were gonna face this head on. And we were gonna win. The butterflies flapped away in my stomach as we approached the hospital doors. Zayne was his adorable self. His curls were perfect from the morning bath I’d given him. I felt bad for the kid though…another doctor a different day. When I thought about the past 10 months, he had been through it. Cranial therapist, allergist, chiropractor, pediatrician, ophthalmologist and neurologist. He had been to so many doctors. And now finding out he had a tumor, I knew there would be more. And to him, it was time in the car, time saying “Ahhh”, and time taken away from playing outside. We didn’t wait long and were called back into a small exam room. We piled in and waited for 45min. Zayne was beyond ready to go as was I. The Doctor finally came in and introduced himself along with an intern. He put Zayne’s chart on the table and started to talk about the treatment schedule. He was hard to understand but the few words I did understand were treatment, chemo, and in-operable. “Excuse me.” I spat out in anger. “That is not what I came here to hear.” He stopped and sympathetically looked at me. My sister stood up and was as white as a ghost. She tried to fake me out by saying she needed to use the restroom. She jetted out the door and I knew she was going to lose her cookies. I looked over at Michael and told him to go after her. I felt so bad…I had my little man next to me that I had to stay with but I’ve always gone with my sister when she needs me. This situation was different. I kept thinking ‘why am I not the one puking after this news’. It’s inoperable. The tumor I wanted so badly to just be able take out can’t be touched. The Doctor started to realize that this was the first time we were hearing this news. He asked what we knew of the situation and I told him we never had the consult with the neurologist letting us know that this tumor was in-operable. All we knew was he had a tumor. Thoughts swarmed through my head. I suddenly couldn’t breathe. Zayne sat next to me on the exam table not understanding the depth of what his mom was feeling for him. I became angry. Angry with the doctor, with tumors, with life and especially with God. Jamie came back in the room with a small amount of color and simply sat back down. The look we passed was enough to let me know she was fine. The doctor wanted to examine Zayne and I had to grit my teeth while he looked at his belly and listened to his heart. Routine things all seemed threatening after what he had just said. The doctor talked about a condition called NF. Something I would later learn is a condition that is usually associated with kids that have this type of tumor. He continued talking and the phrase “we want to get started right away” tumbled out his mouth and hit me in the chest. My sister once again got up and left the room to go “potty”. I again questioned why I wasn’t the one over the toilet. I looked over to my husband giving him the “I’m losing it look.” He put his hand on my leg and tried to be strong for me but I could tell he was losing it too. Things were quite. The tears were streaming down my face at this point and I felt as though that room was shrinking by the second. Jamie came back in the room and sat back down. There was no look exchanged this time. I knew that this was just how it had to be. I gained my composure and looked that doctor square in the eye and said “Absolutely not. We are leaving.” He went on to explain, AGAIN, about the tumor and how he thought it would be best if we got started right away. I AGAIN said “No. Thankyou for your time.” He looked at my husband who was obviously thinking a little more level-headed than I was and gave us a couple minuets alone. I looked at my poor husband, who half the time doesn’t know what to expect out me, and told him I was taking Zayne and going out to the truck. The look he gave me, I will never forget. It was a look of compassion. He knows how I handle bad news. I run. And this time I was taking my child with me. He knew he couldn’t fix me at that moment. He knew there was no point in arguing with me. I was done. He stood up. He also knew not to hug me so I didn’t lose it any more than I already had. He just stood real close to me and said “You go ahead. Michael and I will wrap up here.” I picked Zayne up and couldn’t get out of that hospital fast enough. Thoughts ran wild through my head. Chemo. This tumor had caused more pain in our lives in the past 2 days than I’d had in 15 years. My little man with a head full of bouncing white curls was going to have to face something I couldn’t tell him about. I couldn’t tell him what to expect. I didn’t know the outcome. I couldn’t say it’s all gonna be ok. All I could do at that moment was hold him and hope he knew I would be with him every step of the way. The boys eventually made it out to the truck. We all rode in silence for the first 20 min. Then Zayne piped up and said “Daddy play I will wait.” That song had become a favorite of Zayne’s over the summer. As Jake loaded the song my mind couldn’t help but wander to the video I had made of Zayne dancing and singing at the top of his lungs to that same song. As it began to play emotion swept over me. I began to cry as quietly as I could in the front seat of the truck. Jake reached over and took my hand. I played through the video in my mind. He was in a pajama shirt and a diaper hopping around my kitchen as if on a wooden horse. His frizzy blonde hair bouncing up and down with every move. “I WILL WAIT FOR YOOOOOU!” He would belt with all his excitement. I remember being concerned he was going to run into something and bump his head he was moving so fast and with hardly any control of his steps. He didn’t have a weight on his shoulders. Nothing could have interrupted his joy in that moment! He would throw his head back and laugh wrinkling his little nose. And here we were listening to this song not with joy but heaviness. I reached back with my free hand and put it on Michael’s knee in hopes he would know how thankful I was that they came. He put his hand over mine and my sister put hers over both of ours. Zayne was Jake and I’s son but we were all going through the emotions together. “I will wait for you…” the song played on. Was he still going to bounce around my kitchen as carefree as he was? Would he still be able to be a normal 3 year old? Would I one day be watching that video having him only be a memory?