" 'Hi Mom. I have a brain tumour.'
There are many phone calls a parent dreads, and this one is right up there. Christopher, 27, has been having excruciating headaches that reached beyond the bounds of even the migraines he inherited from me. An MRI was scheduled, and when they called the next day to tell him he had to come back for another one, a little hammer started knocking on my heart.
Christopher has been having a rough go of it of late. He and Pammy, his longtime girlfriend, moved this year to a lovely apartment in Hamilton that has a yard for the lads — their two pups. After having his arm destroyed in a work accident a few years back, work has been sporadic. The arm was supposed to get better; it hasn't, and chasing down any kind of claim for help has proven elusive. Here's this big bear of a kid who looks like he could lift up the world, barely able to lift five pounds with one arm.
About four years ago, he was diagnosed with a weird eye disease; they say it can be genetic, but I can't even spell it, let alone tell him where it came from (keratoconus: I looked it up). He had surgery on the affected eye to stop it getting worse, but his vision has never been the same since.
The day last week he received the call about the tumour, he was sitting in the specialist's office being told they had to operate on the other eye. Hey, OHIP? Be really nice if you covered this. It's a progressive disease that robs sufferers of sight. It's a disease that begins in youth: you know, when those youths rarely have $3,000 per eye so they can keep seeing.
I'm terrified. I know he's 27, but he's my boy. If you've been reading my column Motherlode, you met him when he was 12. He's a gentle giant who began lifting me up when he was 13, calling me Little Mom. He proudly walks and cuddles two little dogs that each weigh less than my cats. He's worried about me when he's the one who has been getting slammed for years now. He's worried about Pammy, who soldiers on, her narrow shoulders belying her incredible strength. "
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