I never, ever, ever would've thought I would be "that mom." The one whose child is diagnosed with a brain tumor. That only happens to other people's children, not mine, right??? Wrong.
I have three kids; a 17-year-old daughter, Grace, a 14-year-old son, Zach, and our brain tumor warrior, Micah, who will be 12 this month. Zach is severely autistic and non-verbal, so my motherhood story has never been what I would call "typical," but it is my story, involving the three little people that made me a mom, and loved it (most days). And then, there was "That Day." The day that everything changed. The day that separated my life into a Before and After; that is, Before Micah's Brain Tumor and After Micah's Brain Tumor. Before Micah's brain tumor, he was a happy, outgoing, athletic, BUSY boy. Then when the first brain tumor showed up, my warrior was thrown into battle at eight years old, a battle he didn't ask for. This tumor tried to kill him, and he spent two long months in the hospital fighting for his life, fighting his way back to what he was Before. But, what most people don't realize is, with brain tumors and surgeries and radiation treatments, most patients can't go back to Before. They become completely different individuals due to the trauma and injury to their brain. I watched my son battle daily, trying his best to overcome obstacles and feeling completely helpless.
And then, one day, came Make-A-Wish. I hadn't seen his face light up like that in MONTHS. His wish experience was like a breath of fresh air...for all of us! Micah's wish was to go to Washington, D.C.. That week was one we will never forget! It gave our entire family something to look forward to and something to focus on, other than brain tumors, brain damage, weekly therapies and doctor appointments. And now, even though his wish is passed, we still have those memories, pictures and mementos that we that we will have for a lifetime! There isn't a week that goes by that Micah doesn't get to tell someone about his incredible Make-A-Wish trip!
I've often been asked if there is anything I wish people would understand about our battle with these brain tumors, and aside from what I've already mentioned, I think it is important to remember that when one child is sick, it affects the entire family. Obviously, as a parent, it has rocked my world and changed my life, but it has done the same to my other children. I think sometimes people forget about the siblings. The "sick" child is in the forefront, getting all the attention for what they are going through, but a lot of times there are siblings in the background, struggling in their own way. They can easily get overlooked unless someone purposefully seeks them out.
Overall, our journey has been tumultuous and extremely hard, but I wouldn't trade one day of this beautiful life with my kids for anything. I am so thankful that God chose me to be their Mom—autism, brain tumors and all.