In March, 2004, Michael began complaining that his right eye was watering. We overlooked this since it was windy and we had been working outside with our animals getting them ready for the 4-H Youth Fair. A week or two later he showed us a lump just under his right ear. That was on Friday, March 22, 2004.
On Monday, March 25, 2004 we got an appt. with the pediatrician. He checked Michael out very thoroughly and after several tests, thought it might be viral. Our pediatrician sent us home with meds. We ended up making several trips back to the pediatrician (blood work, x-rays, pokes, & prods) but everything was coming back negative. By this time the lumps were on both sides of the neck so our pediatrician referred us on to an Infectious Disease Doctor. We have many farm animals and he was guessing that the trouble may have started with some of our many farm animals coupled with the fact that Michael is a 10 year old farm kid with a curiosity that would make even Albert Einstein jealous. We made our first visit to the Infectious Disease clinic on May 26, 2004.
The Dr. decided to have more extensive blood work done and had even mentioned possibly doing a biopsy on the enlarged lymph nodes on his neck. He decided that a biopsy at this point could be put off until a last resort. The Dr. put him on a strong medication and sent us home.
On June 1, 2004 we went back to the Dr. to receive the results of the blood work. I must say that I was a nervous wreck because I just knew it was going to be bad news. Instead, all of his results were negative, but we still had two tests that had not come in yet. These were the two zoonotic tests that our Dr. believed might be the possible cause for the swelling. A few days later the results from that test came back also and proved to be negative, but the Infectious Disease Dr. still believed that it was animal related.
On June 14, 2004 I called the Dr.’s office to let them know that Michael’s eye was really swelling and that I was concerned. We had been in the sun on Saturday so the Dr. felt it was a reaction to the medication he was taking. He told us that there wasn’t a need to come into the office, but to stop the medication and start him on Benadryl.
On June 18, 2004 I called the office again because the right eye was not getting any better. The swelling had gone down some, but I was concerned about his eyesight because the eye appeared to be bulging out and the glands on both sides of his neck were large as if he had mumps. I asked if we could do an MRI or CT scan instead of a biopsy but the Dr. said he had seen this sort of thing a lot and he still didn’t think anything was wrong because Michael could see well out of the right eye. He said that if the swelling was still there on Monday to call the office.
On Monday, June 21, 2004 I called the office to let them know that Michael was now complaining of headache’s and nothing was better. I was informed that the Dr. was out of the office all week and wouldn’t be in until the following Monday and they would schedule Michael an appointment for then. I asked if their was anyway to see a Dr. that day, but I was told it would have to wait until the end of the week possibly to see one of the other Dr.’s and if I felt that this was a serious enough problem to then call my pediatrician because they didn’t really know his case, nor did they have time to see him.
I called my pediatrician and was able to get in at 1:20 p.m. that day. I then called my veterinarian to talk with her to see if she knew of anything that could possibly be animal related that would cause these sort of symptoms. She explained that round worms from dogs could cause swelling in the eye and that an good ophthalmologist would be able to detect round worm larvae in the eye if this is what was wrong. Other than this, she had no idea what could be causing all of the swelling.
When the pediatrician saw Michael later that day he was floored! He couldn’t believe the changes he had seen in Michael. It had been a month since we had had him in the office and he couldn’t believe that nothing had been done. He didn’t know what to do, but we told him that we had called our vet. and explained to him what she had told us. It just so happened that our pediatrician had a friend who was an ophthalmologist and could see us that afternoon. We drove over to his office and when the exam was over, we knew something was desperately wrong. The ophthalmologist told us that this was NOT something viral but something much more serious. He then sent us back to our pediatrician who then sent us to Cook Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth for imaging.
We arrived at the ER around 6:00 p.m. Sometime around 9:00 p.m. they took Michael to get CT scans. The attending physician felt that the original diagnosis (animal related disease) was correct and he explained to us that an ophthalmologist was not really qualified to tell whether something was viral or not. Sometime around 11:00 p.m. the attending physician came and told us news that changed our life forever. He explained that the CT scans showed a very large mass behind the eye and it was working its way to the brain region but they couldn’t be for sure as to how extensive it really was. He also explained that he could not be for sure, but was assuming that this was a malignancy.
Around 2:00 a.m. they finally got us to our room on the 3rd floor. I will never forget getting off of the elevator and as we walked the hallway to our room I looked up and the sign read “Hematology / Oncology”. I knew that somehow this was a mistake and we would be out of there by the next morning, but that wasn’t the case. The two nurses that helped us in our room were so kind and sweet; I will always remember them. I don’t think I slept a wink that first night. I paced the floor; cried; begged and pleaded with God; and cried some more.
When we got the news in the hospital about the mass that was found, we had friends that were with us. They ended up taking Justin home with them so he could get a good night’s sleep. Mickey made sure we were settled and then headed back to the house because the animals needed to be tended to and Justin was going to be brought back by the house in the morning.
Praise Report: The room that we were in, was only 1 of 3 rooms that size. We had the biggest room on that side of the floor! I thought it was a suite and wondered how in the world we would ever afford this, but I found out later that all the rooms were the same price and this room just so happened to be available. God is good and he knew we would need the extra space in the coming days!