Bad News

“Your kid has cancer.” Those are words that no mom ever wants to hear- but there I was, in a pediatric optometrist office, living out every parents nightmare.

“Do you have any questions?”

“You need to go straight to Children’s Hospital to see a specialist.”

“You should probably call his dad.”

“Do you have any questions?”

A million thoughts rolled through my brain, and all I wanted was for these strangers to leave me alone with my kid. I needed the doctor to stop talking about what our next steps would be. I needed the nurse to stop giving me sympathetic looks. I needed Dustin there with me. And most of all, I needed to go back in time, just 24-hours prior, when I had a healthy, happy, 22-day-old baby boy.

The specialist at Children’s confirmed the terrible news; surrounded by Dustin and my parents, we were told that there was an 80 percent chance that Theo had retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina, and that we would need to come back in four days for a MRI. When I asked the doctor for any potential positive outcome that I could hold onto for those four days, his response was, “Just hope that the tumors haven’t spread past his eye.”

A long four days

Nothing that you do can prepare you for getting bad news. It is human nature to worry; when you are pregnant you most likely spend some time worrying that something could go wrong, but for most of us, those worries are quickly replaced with dreams of watching your kid learn to crawl, teaching him to play baseball, and watching him go off to college. You can’t prepare yourself to have all of those dreams potentially shattered.

The four days between that first doctors appointment and the MRI were filled with baby cuddles, a lot of worry, and tiny sliver of hope that the doctor was wrong. We couldn’t lose this tiny human that had taken over our hearts.

Good news

Friday morning, we arrived at the Children’s Hospital in Denver and I handed my baby boy over to the doctors. My husband, mom, and mother-in-law and I spent the longest three hours ever in the waiting room, until finally we were called back to a private room.

“Theo does not have cancer.”

I never truly understood the term “weight lifted off your shoulders” until that moment.