Click here to read part 1 of Mason's story.
Click here to read part 2 of Mason's story.
The weekend before Mason's MRI was Halloween weekend. We had gone to see the Pediatrician on Friday. Saturday, there was a Halloween trunk-or-treat party for the ward Primary children. Mason had been excited for it all month. It took him weeks to decide what he wanted to be, but after seeing an advertisement for the Iron Man movie, he made his final decision. He would be Iron Man. I made a big deal about him not being able to wear his costume until Halloween; after which, he could wear it whenever he wanted. He talked about wearing it everyday, but was obedient and didn't touch it or play with it. The day of the trunk-or-treat party came along, and Mason did not want to go. I was shocked--he had been so excited for it--but he had just woken up from a nap (which he had started taking frequently that week), so I thought he would want to go once he woke up a bit more. I'm in the primary presidency, so I left early to help set up, and my mom was going to drop him off when it started. But half-way through, he still hadn't come. I called home and was told that he had absolutely REFUSED to go. He said he did not feel well enough, and that he had thrown up again. A few times.
When I got home, he was still not feeling well. In fact, it wasn't until a few hours later at I think about 8:00 pm, that he suddenly felt fine and wanted me to take him trick-or-treating. I hadn't planned to because it was rainy and freezing outside. But it was that last chance to go, since we weren't going to go on Sunday. So we went. He went surprisingly far and didn't ask to be held. He kept urging me to take him to another house, then another, so I did. I ended up carrying him all the way back home, though, since he didn't stop until he felt too tired. But I was happy to. When we got home, he took a few candies, and didn't eat any more. In fact, it was then that I realized that he hadn't been eating much at all.
It was those last three days that he refused to eat, except when he was utterly starving. At this time, he was throwing up as much as 8 times a day, and having constant headaches. He didn't want to eat anything, because he didn't want to throw it up. It was a struggle to get him to eat. And all the while, he was still throwing up. When there was nothing left to throw up, he would stand over the toilet, his body going through the heaving motions, with nothing coming out; not even stomach acid. That hurt him the worst, though, and he began to eat just a little.
The night before his MRI, I was getting everything ready. I wanted to wake up in the morning, shower, and leave, without having to gather anything. I packed a small sack with a change of clothes for Mason, for when he inevitably threw up. While I did that, I had the feeling to pack it with a change of clothes for me, too. Without questioning, I threw in a shirt--but not the pants, when there wasn't enough room. I had the feeling to pack things like my deodorant and toothbrush, but disregarded it. Why would I pack them? Plus, I could always come back home if I needed to. I cleaned my camera, emptied the memory cards, and charged its batteries. I sent off the last of the emails I needed to, wrote in my journals, and went through my primary binder, in case I needed to do something else. I renewed my library books that were due in a few days, and brought one along, just in case it would be a long wait. I kept wanting to do more, more, more, and to get everything done. By the time I went to sleep very early that morning, I felt like I had everything done that I needed...although I didn't know why.
We went in for his MRI on November 3rd. He woke up at 6:00 am in a good mood, excited for what would come. He had laughed at descriptions of the big donut machine he was going to see, and the scanners it would have, and he looked forward to it. That was the first morning in weeks that he would be able to go without throwing up. In fact, it was the first night in weeks that I hadn't been woken up by his screaming: "I'm going to throw up!" On the way out the door, my sister asked if I had brushed Mason's teeth. I forgot to, so I ran back inside to get his toothbrush. Instead, I decided to grab our travel pack that has a toothbrush for each of us, and toothpaste. That was purely inspired.
The drive to the hospital was fun and silly, and when we got there, he got to play with games and toys. He was laughing and being silly, and not feeling a bit of a headache. It was a perfect morning.
Mason received that first IV poke like a champion, even laughing about it soon after. He was so brave as they took him to the MRI room and asked him to sit up on the table. They gave him the anaesthesia, and he nodded off peacefully. They asked if I wanted to stay and watch, but I declined. I couldn't stop crying at that point, and it would be worse if I stayed; I had only just realized that I had been feeling the spirit since the night before, preparing me for something. As they wheeled the table to the machine and began positioning him, my mind was raging with possibilities of what was to come.
The rest of the story is pretty simple: the nurse came out at about the time Mason was supposed to be done, saying that they just wanted to get a more thorough look, and it would be taking a little longer. She was trying to sound upbeat. She was really nice. But she had evaded my mom's question when she asked if they had found something.
That was when I knew.
Because they can't give you the devastating news, the referring doctor has to be the one to tell you.
So I waited for the time when I would be told by his pediatrician what major illness my son had. I tried to guess how she would tell me: call me, have me call her, take me to a private room and have a doctor come explain, or maybe they would do the whole go home and wait for the results that we can't give you thing.
I ended up getting a phone call from his Pediatrician that changed my life. Because you can assume something all you want, but it's never final until you hear the words: "they found a tumor."
...and the rest of the story you already know.
Just a side note: I am absolutely certain that if we had waited those two weeks to take Mason in for his scheduled MRI, he would no longer be here with us. His symptoms of headaches and vomiting had escalated so quickly and were so frequent, that I am sure he would not have survived another week. I am SO grateful that his Pediatrician (Laurie Anderson, CPNP) actually listened, and decided to take action!! Not only that, but she also visited him a couple times while he was in the hospital, and has been following along with his progress! I am so grateful!