How Do You Tell Your Son You're Dying?
If you watch our show closely, you'll realize it's not the medical treatments that make Private Practice different than other shows on television; rather, it's the ethical debates surrounding the myriad decisions our doctors need to make every week.
If you've been watching the show, you'll know that week after week, we've been unfolding a storyline about ERICA WARNER and her son MASON. We've spent a lot of time with these characters because Mason is Cooper's son, a son he didn't know about until earlier this season. Erica had her reasons for not introducing Cooper to his son, but what finally forced her to come forward was the discovery that she had a horrible brain tumor known as a gliosarcoma.
Without getting too technical, a gliosarcoma is one of the rarest and most deadly forms of brain tumors that somebody can get. Unlike other gliomas (cancers of the cerebellum) which rarely spread outside of the brain, gliosarcomas are extremely aggressive and commonly spread through the blood to other parts of the body. Gliosarcomas are also extraordinarily hard to treat and, unfortunately, most patients diagnosed with this type of brain tumor are only given months to live.
Erica, facing near certain death, is now faced with another challenge:
When is the right time to tell your loved ones that you're dying?
Erica knows that the moment she tells Mason she's dying, he will start mourning for her, and life as they know it will come to an end. She's also trying to protect her son. Mason's only 9-years-old. How can he possibly handle the news that his mother is dying?
To make matters even more complicated, Cooper and Charlotte think Erica should tell Mason, as they feel Mason will blame them later for being lied to about his mother's condition. This dilemma unfolds over a number of episodes, but finally comes to a head in this week's "You Break My Heart," as Erica is now in Seattle hoping for a last-minute cure, and she can't possibly hold off telling Mason any longer. Mason, understandably, is very upset when he finds out the truth.
Do you think Erica waited too long to tell her son? What would you do if you were faced with a similar situation?