Jason Booros was about to embark on a welcomed new chapter in his life.
He had just graduated from high school and was taking a much-deserved trip to the Florida Keys with some friends before starting his freshman year at a community college.
"Life was good," his dad, John, said.
A month into Jason's freshman year, though, his life took a strange turn. Jason, a star athlete who weighed 190 pounds, started dropping weight, fast. The first clue that something wasn't quite right? An unexpected meal from a caring neighbor.
"I came home and there was a dish in the refrigerator," John said. "I asked my youngest son where the casserole came from, and he said that the neighbor didn't feel like [we] were eating properly."
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Jason says his friends made comments as well. "I had friends tell me I've lost a lot of weight," he said. "I told them I wasn't trying. … I'm just doing what I've always done."
Jason wasn't that concerned, saying that, "I had too much going on in my life. I was going to college during the daytime and going out with my friends at night."
It wasn't long, though, before Jason wasn't doing much of anything.
Another neighbor was the first to notice that something else was wrong, besides Jason's weight loss.
"A neighbor called me and said, 'I thought Jason was going to the community college during the day?' And I said, 'He is,'" Jason's dad said.
The neighbor said they hadn't seen Jason's car leave the driveway in weeks. John dismissed the concern. He figured his son was simply riding to school with friends. But Jason wasn't going to college at all. He was spending his days in bed, sleeping until 4 p.m.
"I was always tired," Jason said. "I would wake up two or three times a night to change the sheets because of night sweats."
When Jason was awake, he experienced other bizarre symptoms, like constant dizziness.
"I would carry laundry downstairs to the basement and I'd hit the first step and get dizzy and the next thing I know, I'm at the bottom of the stairs," Jason said. "I remember walking into walls, just for no reason. I mean, it happened on a regular basis."
Two or three weeks went by, and then the Booroses' neighbor called on the family, again. This time, she'd been watching Jason wash his car and noticed something quite alarming.
"She said, 'Is Jason wearing makeup? He looks like he's wearing makeup,'" John said. Concerned at this point, John called his son inside.
John, a busy single parent raising two teenage boys, worked during the day and didn't get the opportunity to spend a lot of time with his sons during the week. The boys and their father lived on opposite schedules. When John finally saw his son up close that day, he was shocked by what he saw.
"He was as pasty white as I had ever seen him and he'd lost a lot of weight. He looked really bad," John said.
Jason had dropped close to 40 pounds, in a matter of weeks. His dad knew something was terribly wrong. "I think it was probably the next morning that Jason and I were on our way to the family doctor," John said.
Jason remembers that first trip to the doctor well.