“Mr. Hallsey, my name is Dr. Mayes, and I am the anesthesiologist that helped with your son’s MRI. He has a brain tumor. I wanted to tell you first so that you can be the one to tell your wife.”
I had been sitting alone in the MRI waiting room while my wife went with Tyler as he was laid flat and slid into the deafening drum of a magnetic resonance imaging machine. I sat there alone and quiet for 45 minutes as Tyler lay motionless. I can only imagine the anxiety he must have felt - I had seen a glimpse of it in the days preceding our visit to the emergency room at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He wanted to play catch before baseball tryouts. We already feared something wrong – our brief game of catch confirmed we needed to take him to the hospital the next morning. He could not longer catch a baseball or throw it back to me with any accuracy. The ball fell to his feet and he tripped over it as he tried to pick it up. He looked at me and giggled nervously. His eyes pleading for answers. His eyes pleading for comfort.
“Dad, help me.”
My heart ached and broke for him – it broke for us.
Tyler must have felt the same anxiety during those lonely 45 minutes. When my wife and I were taken to the radiology room to review the many images of Tyler’s brain, all I could remember hearing was “inoperable.” I didn’t know very much about brain tumors, but I guess I knew enough - ”inoperable.”
The name of his cancer was too much for me to remember. Later that day I had to ask someone to write it down on a post it note – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. I remembering asking one of Tyler’s doctors in the subsequent days if she had ever heard of a child surviving DIPG – I refused to believe the statistics. She looked back at me sadly and shook her head ever so slightly.
Our journey began on this date five years ago. I can barely believe that much time has passed. It doesn’t seem possible. I miss my son terribly and try to honor his wishes and memory through his foundation. Whatever it takes.
Cherish every moment.
Whatever It Takes