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To Myself on the Day I Found Out My Son Has a Brain Tumor

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Yes, your beautiful baby boy has a brain tumor. The neurosurgeon will tell you he can get it out and then you can go home and heal in about a week. But he doesn’t get it all, and you won’t go home in a week. It’s not going to be an easy road. Things aren’t going to go back to normal — ever.

The quicker you accept this, the faster you can find a new normal. The days following surgery will be almost unbearable. There will be seizures and EEGs and CT scans and MRIs and lots and lots of meds. And very little sleep.

Jonelle Cavill's children
Jonelle’s three children.

There will be doctors you love and doctors you hate. There will be nurses you love and others … not so much. Research everything and don’t ever stop asking questions. He’s your child and your responsibility. Become the expert.

You will miss and worry about your daughters and husband so badly it will physically hurt. They will be fine. Your husband will take care of things you never thought he could. Give him more credit.

The girls’ teachers will be in awe of their strength and ability to carry on and perform each and every day in school. And your community and circle of family and friends desperately want to help. Let them. People are amazing.

There will be those special few, though, who are just there for whatever you need. To sit and just be quiet. To not ask too many questions. To help carry the load when you miss work. To not give advice or tell you that everything happens for a reason or God only gives you what you can handle. To say, “This really
 stinks. How can I help?” Appreciate them.

Having a medically fragile child can be overwhelming, but it does get easier. You will settle into a routine. Support groups are out there. These moms will save your life. Find them.

Gain perspective. You know how you get stressed about dog hair on the hardwood floor, overflowing hampers and dishes constantly piled in the sink? Forget it. Embrace the mess and find all the joy and laughs you can in each and every moment. You and your family deserve it.


The New You

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing you thought on the day of your or a loved one’s diagnosis that you later completely changed your mind about? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 13, 2016
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