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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Melanie Thompson

The Death of a Son
                In our lives we make many choices. The path we take and the events we experience are all the result of choices. I had to make a choice between life or death for my son. I chose death.
                When my eight-year-old son was diagnosed with brain cancer, they performed surgery to remove his astrocytoma. After the biopsy, they told me I had to make a choice. If Nandi received extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he would live five years, slowly become completely paralyzed and then die. If no treatments were given, he had two years relatively pain free, then the tumor would come back and he would die. I had to choose.
                What would you do? I knew my boy. He was like a bird, loosely connected to his body. When a pheasant is caught in a trap, it just dies. Birds that are hurt or really scared leave their bodies. Nandi was like that. He was a sweet kid, loving and sensitive. He took care of his younger brothers and sisters because he wanted to.
                I found I couldn’t condemn my son to the pain of chemotherapy and radiation. He was just a boy. How could I explain to him I authorized incredible pain and suffering just so I could keep him three more years?
                I believe in God and heaven. I believed he would be better with God than suffering on earth with me. I made the choice to let him go.
                Things transpired exactly as the doctors said they would. For two years, I gave Nandi every joyous experience within my power. I piled all the love I had in my heart on him. A week before he died, he called me into his room. At that moment, he was still healthy, but I believe he knew what was coming.
                “I made it to ten,” he said.
                I swallowed my tears and smiled. “Of course you did.”
                “Thanks for being my mom. I love you.”
                I can still hear his voice as he told me. I hugged him. “I love you, too.”
                The nurses and doctors were evenly split. Half applauded my decision and half thought I was a monster. I just knew either way, I would lose Nandi. I didn’t want him to suffer. Some choices follow you throughout your life. You think about them every day, second guess yourself, wonder what if. But ultimately, good or bad, you live with your choices.

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