My brother has been struggling with medical problems for most of his life. I was five years old when Jason was born, and I thought he was perfect. He was my own personal, real-life baby doll. When I heard him crying, I would climb into his crib to comfort him. As I grew more confident in my sisterly abilities, I figured out how to lift him out of his crib so I could carry him to my room.
Sometime between his first and second birthdays, Jason got sick. He had a brain tumor, my parents said. I now know that it was a Medulloblastoma. Six-year-old me didn’t understand that. Six-year-old me only knew that Jason had to go to the hospital, and he stayed there for a very long time. My parents were gone too; I barely remember seeing them during all those months.
Jason was in the hospital for what seemed like forever. And he when he finally came home he was not the same. I remember crying, I was terrified of the way he looked.
Jason’s face was red and blotchy, and there was something on his head that looked like a huge, bloody worm. Mom told me it was nothing to be afraid of. It was only his stitches. She said the doctor had to cut open Jason’s head to get the tumor out of his brain and then sew him back up.
I was afraid to look at Jason, but Mom finally convinced me that he was my same baby brother and he would be okay. I sat on our orange and red circa-1970’s couch, and Mom laid Jason gently in my lap. I had to be very careful with him. I couldn’t get in his bed with him anymore, and by no means was I allowed to carry him around the house.
Not only did Jason look different, he also acted differently than before. He could no longer talk or walk. He could barely sit up on his own. He was almost like a newborn all over again.
So Jason started life for the second time in a body that was two years old. It was a miracle that he was alive, and it’s a miracle that he is still alive today. We now realize that some miracles come with lifelong hardship attached.
After a Medulloblastoma is removed, the patient is treated with radiation, chemo, or a combination of the two. Jason received radiation treatments. And he was fine for a while. I guess until his teens, Jason was a normal, slightly awkward, rowdy little boy. He ran and played and irritated me to…