When Tyler was sick the doctors had to put him on a high dose of dexamethasone (steroids) to minimize the swelling in his brain. There were a lot of side effects and one of them was weight gain, especially in his face. I felt like I raised two Tyler’s because they were so different physically and different emotionally, too. After he was diagnosed it seemed like every movie that dealt with tragedy revolved around cancer. It always made us nervous when cancer would unexpectedly appear when watching a movie at the theater or at home. We didn’t know how it would impact him.
I remember we were watching TV one night when a Cancer Treatment Centers of America commercial aired. I immediately froze – no remote near me and I didn’t have time to get it – the commercial asked, “Do you have questions about your cancer treatment?”
I sat there and hoped Tyler hadn’t been paying attention, but he then immediately said in a sarcastic voice, “Yeah, I have a question - why is my face so freaking fat?”
Then he laughed and laughed. The tension was gone.
I didn’t realize how much his appearance bothered him until he passed away and I read an entry in his journal. It was just after he declared his life was amazing, and he said, “I wish I was normal again because I have no shot with my crush.”
On my hard days I think about his response to that commercial and weigh it against what he wrote in his journal – both diametrically opposite – and realize sometimes life just sucks, but you have to try and laugh a little in between the tears.
Cherish every moment.
Tyler's Dad Whatever It Takes