December 9, 2009

The Neurosurgeon

I wanted to share a link about the Neurosurgeon who performed Galadriel's surgery that someone sent to me.
Is this a wonderful man or what? Be sure to listen to the end. I'd like to ask you to pray for him. As an aside, he will be moving to Africa to volunteer his time doing these surgeries. So not only is he one of the best, he will donate his time in a 3rd world country. I'm amazed.

We woke up this morning to 13 inches of snow. Our neighbor so kindly came and plowed us out. But it is blowing and drifting so I stayed home today, much to my disappointment. Each time I talked to Aragorn I made sure he told Galadriel (or I told her myself) that I wanted to be there. There is always a positive side to everything and although I was eager to get over and see her... and Aragorn, I was also very tired. It was also good to spend some time with the other 9 children and keep a fairly regular day. We've tried our best to keep things uninterrupted during something that has entirely thrown us in the Merry Mixer (ever ride one of those at the amusement park?)

Aragorn woke up at 6am to this rattling noise to find that Galadriel had gotten herself up and out of bed. This shows great progress, yesterday she was up to 75% on her own, and today she did this all on her own,. However, of course we had to tell her she needs to let us know when she wants to get up. She's still at high risk fall. They shut off the brain drain and if the pressure maintains at normal levels she can have it removed. That would mean she could move off the PICU floor which is a big step towards coming home (!!!!!!!!!!!!)


Here is more detail on the tumor itself, juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, but it's a lengthy read so I'll just stick it here at the bottom for those who find such things interesting.

I had a rather extensive talk with my dad (a doctor) today about this kind of tumor after he had spoken with a pathologist. I had asked him to translate the information into English (from Medical-ese). And I hope I got it right, I was typing as he spoke.

This type of tumor was classified on a 1-5 scale. It put it in a category 1 malignant which is also considered a benign leison. These types can recurr. This type tends to be more discreet so a good possibility that they could get it all. Generally they don't do much else unless this has recurred once or twice. So no chemo or radiation therapy. (Deo Gratias)

Brain stem is where this tumor was located and the problem is unlike operating up on the cerebrum or cerebella they can't wiggle too much. This area is very critical as it composes the cranial nerves 2-12, the nerve centers for the face and eyes, smell, taste, etc.. The tracks that go down into the trunk of the body run right by there. The nerves have already crossed at this point which is why the right sided tumor affected the right side, usually left brain affects the right side.

Alot of the effects from the pressure prior to surgery will heal itself.

The fluid is produced in the brain and usually goes down into the spine the pressure was building up because the tumor was blocking the regular flow. They turned it off today 12/9 to see if it will begin to flow naturally again on its own. So this was the purpose of the ventricular shunt (brain drain that does not go down into the abdomen)

Overall if they got it all the prognosis is excellent, these are slow growing but can come back and depends on whether he could get it all. The surgeon was pretty confident that he had gotten it all. The main thing is that the surgeron thinks he got it all and the tissue is saying grade one and she is making recovery that it looks like great recovery.

This kind is as close to benign as you can get. At this level it is difficult to tell if it is inflammatory changes or tumor growth/changes. It's difficult to distinguish.

The malignant part is the particular place rather than tissue itself (pretty sure anyway). The juvenile adjective means they are more benign, juvenile refers to the level rather than for a child which would have been my guess.


  1. I'm so glad you posted this. I was looking online and getting lost in medical lingo... so thank your Dad for posting a more understanding translation! We too are snowed in... although the kids are loving it! We are keeping Galadriel in our prayers... I am so glad to come up here each day and hear her progress. Love you lots, mama! :)


  2. good news!
    i have another friend whose child (2 year old boy) have the same kind of tumor galadriel did. he isn't quite a year out of his surgery date and doing quite well.

  3. Thanks for the info! Can you tell us how sh came to be diagnosed? What kinds of symptoms was she having, etc that led to the testing. Praise be to God that she's recovering so well!

  4. Dear family, I have been praying for you since a friend told me of your daughter's tumor. We will continue to pray for you all and for God's perfect will to be done. God be with you and strengthen you on this journey.

    Oh, and praise God for a wonderful doctor-- his interview was so touching. How blessed you are to have him be one caring for your daughter!

  5. What a wonderful gift God has given this man - and how beautiful that he sees that and sees the value in these children that our world keeps trying to tell us are trash. Still praying!

  6. I've never been so excited about something I can't even pronounce before! I'm so happy to hear this...and your surgeon is a true gift from God! I couldn't help crying over his video.

  7. How wonderful your surgeon is!!! I watched the youtube and got all choked up at this man's love for God's children. You are blessed to have him in your area. Continued prayers for all of you.