In February of 2015, Jamison, 18 at the time, was a typical Bismarck Century high school senior hanging out with his friends, working part-time in a construction job, and trying to figure out what he wanted to pursue as a career after he graduated. But, he was sleeping so much; sometimes from the time he got home from his job until the next morning. With everyone assuming that it was just because of Jamison's late weekend nights, long hours of school and work, the long sleep hours went on for several weeks. He said to his mom “my vision is ‘funky’, it’s ‘off’.” But he had just gotten new contacts, so they figured that must be the cause?
In late February, his mom, Shanon, met Jamison at his regular doctor. Bloodwork was drawn, and among others, tests for mono and vitamin D deficiency were run. All results came back normal, except that they were still waiting on the vitamin D test. They figured that had to be the problem. It had to be a vitamin D deficiency, right?
Not wanting to wait over the weekend, Shanon, brought him to the emergency room the day after bloodwork was drawn. While waiting to see the ER doctor, his vitamin D results came back. They were a little low, so thinking that was the cause, Shanon said to Jamison jokingly, “Looks like we will have to put you in a tanning bed for a while”. To ensure there was no other cause of the fatigue, a CT scan was done. The doctor came in and broke the news to Jamison and his parents, saying “Jamison has a very large brain tumor. We can’t do anything here in Bismarck and a neurosurgeon in Fargo will be waiting for you to arrive there as soon as possible.” When they got to Fargo that evening, the neurosurgeon said that he wouldn’t even consider touching the case because of the location and size.
The next day, Jamison was sent by ambulance to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. A group of over ten doctors were waiting for him when he and his parents arrived. A plan was developed to start six rounds of inpatient chemotherapy, but in April of 2015, going into his third round of chemo, it was determined that the chemo was working on the one type of cancer that Jamison had, but it was causing the other to increase in size. The only option to save him and give him quality of life was surgical resection of the tumor, so on May 7, he underwent an eight-hour surgery to remove the tumor. His pediatric neurosurgeon said he’d never in his career had to use his longest tool at the tip of his thumb and index finger to get a tumor out. In his words, all other tumors were a dwarf in comparison.
After many weeks of inpatient rehab, Jamison re-learned how to walk, talk, and eat. Exactly one month from the date of his surgery, he received his high school diploma in full cap and gown. His diploma was presented to him at the hospital in Rochester by two of the doctors that saved his life; his pediatric neurosurgeon and his pediatric oncologist. It was very fitting and appropriate.
Jamison received the three remaining rounds of inpatient chemo treatment, followed by six weeks of proton radiation. He has also had eye surgeries to correct double vision, and about six brain shunt surgeries to control hydrocephalus.
Jamison was officially declared in remission in December, 2015. The pediatric neurosurgeon that performed the surgery had originally given Jamison about a five percent chance of living. To hear that he was in remission was unbelievable and to be given a second chance at life has changed Jamison and his parents’ lives in many ways.
A side effect of his treatment is a brain injury, resulting in some cognitive deficits. He has undergone brain injury rehab in Denver and Minneapolis, and is now having checkups every six months instead of every three months.
After his treatment, he went to two years of college at BSC to get his Mechanical Maintenance degree and he is currently finishing up his second associates degree in Precision Machining at NDSCS and he will graduate in May of this year. He hopes to find a job in the area so that he can be around family and do things he enjoys, including, camping, boating, and slalom skiing. He wants to get a new dog when he gets settled for companionship.
Jamison now enjoys a very close relationship with his older brother, Tyler, which wasn’t the case before he was diagnosed. His faith in God has given him a closer relationship to Him, allowing Jamison to turn his worries over to a higher power. His relationship with his parents is also stronger than it’s ever been.
Jamison and his parents look at life very differently now. They don’t worry about the small stuff and do not take life for granted. They feel blessed beyond words and are thankful for the support they’ve received from their family, friends, and community.