I remember the first time someone talked to me about brain surgery. Shortly after David received his diagnosis of epilepsy, the epilepsy nurse explained the treatment options available.
She mentioned brain surgery and that the doctors had already talked about David as a possible candidate for brain surgery.
“Wait. What? Did you just say brain surgery? For my son?!”
We had an in depth discussion of how brain surgery is used to treat epilepsy. Every few minutes I found myself thinking, “Am I really having a discussion about brain surgery for my child?”
A little over a year later, here we are. The night before brain surgery. Tomorrow morning, a neurosurgeon will remove a portion of my child’s brain! Who does that?!
I feel like I have now become a “friend of a friend” or “someone I know.” It’s always a “friend of a friend” who has something extreme happen in their life, right? Or “someone I know” had a situation you only HEAR about. But those aren’t real people, are they?
All of those people I’ve seen at the park or at a store who my instincts say are different than me because they look differently than me or because they are in a location that somehow separates them from me…all of those people are just like me. Actually, they ARE me; people with lives and other children and jobs and school and homework and soccer practice. They are parents who love their children, who want the best for them. They are living life the best way they can. They are simply dealing with challenges that look differently than my challenges.
This morning, we met with the neurosurgeon. Brain surgery is fascinating. Did you know they don’t CUT the brain? They use suction to create a division of brain tissue. He said brain tissue is like Jell-O. In order to avoid bleeding, they suck it instead of cutting it. Fascinating. The brain also does not scar. Once brain tissue is removed, a water substance fills in the gap. Who knew?! (Obviously, I never took anatomy or other related classes.)
The spot they will remove tomorrow they described as an iceberg. They can identify only the tip of the iceberg, but cannot see how deeply the bad brain tissue penetrates. (In the picture, the arrow is pointing to the tip of the iceberg.) They will remove 10% of David’s frontal lobe on the right side of his brain. A water-like substance will fill in the space. The type of lesion they are removing is called cortical dysplasia. It is basically a malformation of brain tissue. The only thing this type of lesion does is cause seizures. They said there is a 70% chance that David can live a seizure-free life. We’ll take it.
I’m thankful to live in a time of advanced knowledge and technology. I’m thankful for the book “Gifted Hands” that helped me feel better about brain surgery. I’m thankful for a husband who stands at my side as we face this challenge. And I’m thankful for the courage of a 5-year old boy who trusts his parents; who will allow doctors to do what needs to be done; who helps nurses as they give him medicine; who hangs out with probes attached to his head without complaining; who prays that Heavenly Father will fix his seizures, trusting that He will fix them.
Here we go….