Doctors told Kara Anderson that her son, Ian, was acting out for attention, but she knew it was something more.
According to WSB-TV, the once docile 9-year-old had become aggressive. Anderson explains:
“Angry was the best word to describe him. Just very defiant. There were several times I would have to just hold him to keep him from hurting himself.”
Ian was diagnosed with ADHD and later bipolar disorder, but Anderson continued to believe that her son was being misdiagnosed.
ADHD and bipolar disorder didn't explain the headaches and vomiting that accompanied Ian's mood changes.
The single mother remained determined to figure out what was wrong with her son, and it was her insistence that doctors perform more tests that finally led to his diagnosis.
She tells WSB-TV:
“It was everything other than what it really was.”
Ian had a brain tumor, a Grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma. The rare tumor only affects 250 children a year.
Doctors were able to remove part of the tumor in October, after which Ian started radiation treatment. Removing the tumor entirely would cause brain damage, so the radiation is working to shrink the tumor as much as possible.
Because of Ian's intense treatment schedule, Anderson has had to quit her job. Radiation, she says, has become a normal part of their everyday life:
“He just lies down on the radiation table, they put a mask over him and he sings for about 5 to 10 minutes and then we're on our way. Every morning when everyone else is going off to school, he's going off to radiation.”
So far, the radiation is working, and slowly but surely Ian is returning to the “caring boy” he once was.
Anderson is documenting what she calls Ian's 'journey of courage' on a special Facebook page.