17 July 2009

Jonathan - The Truth Revealed

DO WHAT!!?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

That was the first thing out of my mouth when I spoke to the funeral home, who revealed to me the official cause of death on the death certificate for my 17 year old son Jonathan. Two days ago, they called and left a message stating that the medical examiner's office had called and the finalized death certificates were in. They told me they were submitting the request for the copies I had ordered, and should have them for me to get in a couple of days. Being impatient as I am after waiting now eight weeks for this, I called them back and asked if they could contact the medical examiner and see if they would tell us the actual cause of death. When I received a return call from the funeral home yesterday, just fifteen minutes from the time I left work, the answer simply blew my mind.

Cause of death: Brain Tumor. More specifically, Neurocytoma. I could not believe it. A brain tumor?? There had never been any symptoms that led anyone to even examine him for that.

At first, this was a shock, and it overwhelmed my emotions with a ton of additional "what if" questions. What if we knew and treated it? What if it was something simply fixable? UGH!!! It was a flood of pain and emotion all over again.

My initial attempts to find answers on line were less than stellar. There was a bit about it online, but I was finding mostly case studies, with technical jargon that I did not understand or want. I wanted a page to simply tell me what it was, how it is caused, and the treatment and survival rate. Instead I found bits of information on types of treatment and other less clear stats.

I did find many in the case study, even after surgery, still died, some in as little as six months, some lasted a couple more years. So I did not find any clear cut wording that says yes, it was easily treatable and survivable. I think the increased difficulty of finding a quick answer was God's way of telling me to stop. I gave up looking after a few moments.

Now, the day after, I realize that for me to dig for an answer is not a good idea at all. No matter what the answer I find, it will not bring him back, and it will not make me feel more whole. Worst case, it could make me far worse than I currently am. All of the "what if" scenarios in the world won't do anything to lead to peace of mind to me, but in fact could push me deeper. I am pretty sure if we had discovered it, in his weakened condition due to lack of weight, he probably would not have survived the surgery to fix it (some of the case studies showed people not surviving the surgery part).

It does help me in many matters though. First off, it clears my mind of any thoughts that the recent supplement IV treatments had anything to do with his death. It clears out the possibility that the diet he was on caused any problems. It also clears the thoughts that maybe we didn't start aggressively treating the weight gain issue sooner. None of those seem related to his eventual death, but instead, out of left field, a new undetected issue swoops in beyond our control to take him away.

Strangely, he had no symptoms of this brain tumor that we were aware of. From what little I found online, the common symptoms included chronic headaches, vision issues, and loss of coordination and tingling sensations in the limbs. None of these were issues that Jonathan ever brought up as having. Of course, he was so secretive of many issues and symptoms, one can only wonder if he did, but never shared them. Since the most common symptom was chronic headache, something he never seemed to complain of, then I have to assume he wasn't hiding it from us.

Anyway, while it does raise some additional questions, it also answers some of my already plaguing questions, so in the long run, I have to learn to let it go; there is nothing we could have done more as far as what we did know he had, so not knowing, puts the situation that much further out of our hands.