I Get MRI’s Every 4 Months, Today My 9 Year Old Jake Had an MRI

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My wife suffers from chronic migraines. She gets them all the time, and they can be brutal. Her Great Grandmother had them. Her Grandmother had them.  Her Mother had them. The only way they were relieved of this pain was through menopause or a hysterectomy. This is the hand she was dealt.  Until my issues from a brain tumor, I never experienced a migraine.  I assumed they hurt a lot, but I had no personal interaction that allowed me to understand the severity of them.  My perspective on the pain and issues they caused changed drastically after going through a similar situation.  We have tried everything for Rebecca to alleviate this issue she deals with. Medication, surgery, botox, just to name a few. Why some help a little, nothing will truly help her.  The more I have learned about migraines, the more I wish there was something we can do to help get rid of them.  It seems a lot of brain cancers are diagnosed after seizures or massive head pain; in the Brain Cancer world many who think they have migraines are actually finding out that their battle is something different; something more angry and aggressive. Rebecca will often have to take a medication to try and control the pain, but if she had her preference she would stay off the meds. She does what she has to do to not allow these migraines to take over her life; It's her life, and whatever she has to do to maintain control, she will do.   When I learned that migraines can be hereditary, we became aware our middle child Jake had them as well.  His migraines started to get so bad that after one would hit him he would throw up.  They would cause him to get angry, frustrated, and often affect his attention.  When he was not dealing with one, those issues were not overly prevalent.  As his headaches would get worse, he would start to pass out, and sleep would often alleviate the pain he was dealing with.  Jake is 9, and we started taking him all over to try and address this issue.  We have found some little things like a heart arrhythmia, but nothing major was coming up.  We decided to take him to CHOP, Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, to see if we could find a way to help him.    Rebecca called me a few weeks ago and told me on August 9th, Jake would be going to CHOP for an MRI/MRA to see why his migraines were all happening in the same area of his head.  Emotion hit me hard.  MRI/MRA is something I do every 4 months to see if any Astrocytoma, or Brian Tumor has grown back.  Perspective change kicked in.  I told her there is no way I would not be there to support Jake, and I would be going with them.  I know how frustrating and confusing it can be to sit in that tube, but for a 9 year old it could possibly be tougher.  Jake and I are very close, and to not support him and understand the reality of the moment was not an option.  On August 9th we took Jake up to CHOP to get these tests, and hopefully, tell us there is no issue that needs to be addressed from the results. We took Jake out of camp early yesterday, and headed to Philly.  From Longport, NJ it was about an hour drive.  Jake was on edge, and kept mentioning his head was starting to hurt.  When we got there, in a short period of time they took him back and did his MRI/MRA.  When he came out, we took him to walk around University City to relax and get some fresh air.  His migraine started to kick in and kick in hard.  I carried him around to try to help him, but the migraine plays by its own rules. We were taking him to Buddakhan to have a special dinner with just Mom and Dad, no brothers and sisters.  The migraine knocked him out and as we walked into the restaurant he passed out.  He was passed out the whole dinner, the whole ride home, and when he woke up his migraine was gone.  It was a long day, even though he slept for hours, within an hour of being home he fell asleep for the night.     There is a lot in life we cannot control.  There are accidents, diseases, and more that will affect our lives in some fashion.  When it hits our children, its a totally different experience.  We are hopeful and optimistic that the tests will come back clean, and we will address the migraines and not deal with other possible issues.  Watching Jake go in for an MRI brought back memories that I try to not think about, but this wasn't about me. It was about supporting Jake, telling him it's easy, and being there for him.  When his migraine kicked in, it was about letting him know that we are here for him.  The following morning Jake told us he really wanted to go back to that restaurant because he didn't remember much from dinner.  We told him we can't wake to take him, and have a special day for him because his parents love him more than anything.     Life is fragile; Live in the moment, appreciate the now; It's not always going to be easy, but the toughness we show during difficult times defines the legacies we leave. I will never miss any test Jake has to go to, because my job as a father, a friend, and a businessman is to be there for everyone when things are tough. At 11:00 am on June 10th we got the call that all Jake's tests came back with no issues.  The lessons we have digested from this experience we will hang onto, but that was the best news a father could have gotten.  I'll keep getting MRI's every 4 months to check for cancer regrowth, hopefully, Jake will not have to do one again.

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