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NEW: Top clinician for notorious treatment center gets 5 years in prison

Mother's persistence leads to discovery of son's brain tumor

When her sweet 9-year-old son suddenly became aggressive, one Cobb County mother says she knew something was wrong.

Kara Anderson says doctors told her Ian was acting out for attention, but thinking it was more than that, Anderson remained persistent.

“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,” Anderson said.

They went through several diagnoses, from ADHD to bipolar disorder, before they found the real cause of the change –- a rare brain tumor that affects around 250 children a year.

Doctors say the Grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma was caused her son’s intense headaches, vomiting and changed disposition.

Doctors operated on Ian’s tumor in early October. He now goes to radiation Monday through Friday.

“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,” she said.

The single mother had to quit her retail job to shuttle her son to all his doctor appointments across the metro and help him beat the tumor that they call "the weed.” It's only partially removed because doctors say full removal would bring brain damage. 

“The radiation is helping to reduce the tumor,” Anderson said. She said it’s also helping Ian be himself again.

“The real Ian. The gentle heart, the caring boy,” she said.

Mid-January Ian will have an MRI to see how the radiation went and doctors will figure out next steps.

Follow Ian’s journey on his Facebook page.

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