All Clear

Two days ago I walked through the B concourse of the Cincinnati airport while leaving a message with the doctor’s office saying, “Please do not make me get on this plane without hearing his MRI results.” My boss and colleagues have been the soul of flexibility with us, but I could not hold off the travel any longer.

I futzed with my bag (which was actually a pet carrier because that’s the kind of awesome planner I am.), ordered a drink I then ignored, checked my email, stared at a magazine. The nurse called. Alden’s MRI was normal. What that means is all the most horrifying words I’d heard doctors say over the last month and a half — starting with leukemia and ending at brain tumor — were off the table. I did not think he had a brain tumor. I would have insisted that clearing it was just a formality. I mean, I was already at the airport ready to fly away. Obviously I didn’t think he had a brain tumor. Except I must have feared it more than I was willing to admit. Because when she told me that I felt as profound a relief as I have ever felt. More than I thought was possible. Knots in my chest — the thick kinds you see on ropes in a boat — just let go and I found all this extra space in my lungs. I was dizzy.

I am so grateful. So so grateful. That word isn’t good enough. I don’t know what is. So many families get a different call. We could have gotten horrible, life-destroying news at several turns in this and every time it went another way. There’s no reason but luck. God, the universe, karma isn’t more effective in our lives than anyone else. We don’t love our kids more than other parents. We didn’t try harder than other parents. Alden isn’t stronger than other kids. It is profoundly humbling to be on the right side of fortune.

This boy has a bright future.


9 responses to this post.

  1. I’m so thankful these words are finally written down, official.

    Travel safely.


  2. Posted by Jennie B. on February 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Beautiful, resonant and truthful post, Jillian. I am very glad for your good fortune. Still no clear answers though, I presume?


    • The hypothesis for now is that a severe but short-lived infection temporarily damaged the functioning of his GI tract. His doctor is hoping that simply keeping his stomach acid level down for a few months will keep his stomach at rest long enough to get things back online.

      I do have a list of tests the doctors want them to run if we wind up back in the ER. If the vomiting comes back they want to look at metabolic disorders. If it sticks around long enough they’d consider cyclical vomiting syndrome.


  3. Someday, when he is calmly explaining how he merged your car with the side of the garage, you can take solace in the fact that you are very, very lucky to have him merging your car with the side of the garage.

    Not that I have any experience with merging a car with the side of a garage. Not a bit.


  4. 🙂 so very glad to hear this.


  5. Whoosh. Awesome awesome news.


  6. Posted by Charles Hinson on February 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I cried when I read this – I can feel your relief emoting through those words. I love you all and am so glad Alden is okay…


  7. It’s a good feeling hearing this kind of news that happens to other..
    happy for you!


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