LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Its been a struggle for the whole Ross family. Clayton's been dealing with pain since he was only three years old. It started with stomach aches and leg pain.
"It feels like I have to throw up, but I don't have to throw up," said Clayton
His mom, Lacie, took him to their pediatrician expecting to make him all better.
"They did a couple small tests, but they pretty much kept saying it's growing pains," said Lacie.
Watching her son's suffering increase, she knew in her heart something was wrong.
"I told them it's my child. A mother knows their child and something isn't right," said Lacie.
Doctor visits became more frequent over the next few years.
"It started off maybe once a month. It got to the point we were going weekly, sometimes twice a week," said Lacie.
Tired of not getting answers, Clayton's mom decided it was time to get a second opinion.. and headed for Houston.
"Right away we were seeing a orthopedic doctor, a neurologist, and a neurosurgeon," said Lacie.
All it took was an MRI... one test that hadn't been done at home.
"What he has the Chiari I Malformation is where the brain is herniated into the spinal column... all your nerves that control everything are in your spinal cord. Well, all of those are being compressed," said Lacie.
With a diagnosis made, Clayton will soon undergo surgery. Doctors say that should get everything back to normal, but they can't guarantee anything until they see inside his brain.
"If we would have found this sooner - it's possible that the damage would be a lot less," said Lacie.
Perhaps the most difficult side effect for Clayton, the way his condition affects his ability to talk. His grandma can't wait to see change.
"I want to see him walk back into his class and talk to everybody," said Kay Dunn, Clayton's Grandma.
"Just like all the other kids,"said Clayton.
Now a mother's fight may finally be over.
Clayton wants to be a bull rider when he grows up, and now after his diagnosis, his family is starting to believe that could actually be a reality.