My photo
Owner, "MAP Wellness" - a culinary nutrition and wellness company. Writer. Passionate cook, raw food chef, reiki practitioner, yoga teacher, and LIVE WELL educator. ​do yoga. enjoy good food. run. plant food. cook. savour wine. read books. buy good food. love. grow your energy. find peace. enjoy food. have passion. skip. eat food. do yoga. listen to jazz. have presence. be present. bike. read. see. hear. be. live. love.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Brain Tumours....

....they suck.  My family has learned this first hand this past year.  As if learning of Dad's double whammy diagnosis of FTD/ALS wasn't enough, we were dealt yet another blow in early 2011. I am sure that the way the events unfolded in my world was very, very different than how it happened for my other family members', namely my eldest sister Bronwyn and her hubby Kevin.  I cannot even begin to imagine how they experienced all of it...

For me, it all began as just another Thursday was February 10th.  I was leaving my then therapist's office downtown, and turned on my phone to check my messages.  Mom had called.  Immediately my mind went to my father.  Oh God, what had happened to Dad?  Had he fallen?  Had he choked over dinner?  Was he in the hospital?

I hopped on the King streetcar. I dialed.  Mom answered almost straight away.  Her words - "Are you sitting down?  You need to pray for your little nephew Bryn right now"...

I fell over.  Three kind strangers on the trolley helped me off the floor and into a seat.  I began to cry.  Mom continued on to tell me that Bryn was currently at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton being prepped for BRAIN SURGERY.  What?  Huh? Bryn was only six years old...this does NOT happen.  I traveled home to my Parkdale flat and sat for a bit.  What was the universe doing to my family?  Why were we being punished?  I called a couple friends in a foggy panic.  I had a bowl of soup.  I phoned my sister at the hospital for details, hopped in my car and was off. 

I got to the hospital around 10:30pm.  By this time, little Bryn had been in surgery for about two hours.  I ran into Kevin in the hallway, and he smiled and greeted me.  He led me to the waiting room where Bronwyn was reading quietly.  Clearly, they were both in tremendous shock.  They both appeared so calm.  They told me the story of the day; that first thing that morning they had brought Bryn in for a routine eye exam that showed swelling on the rear of his eyeball.  That led to an immediate trip to the ophthalmologist, and then the emergency MRI in Hamilton that concluded the need for immediate surgery.  Bryn had a tennis ball sized tumour growing on his brain.  And so there we were.  In brain surgery.  In under twelve hours.  We waited.

I remember at one point Bronwyn telling me that she was feeling guilty that she was not worrying about Dad at that moment because she was so terrified about her eldest sons health. Does that sound crazy?  Well it's not.  That is just the way my family was functioning at the time.  Constantly concerned; divvying up the nurture; feeling consistent threat; trying to spread around what strength and love we had left to give.  Kev and I reassured her that her only focus need be on her baby boy.  He needed all the support and positive energy we could muster up to help get him through.  We prayed.

Shortly after 3 o'clock in the morning, Bryn's doctor entered the waiting room.  The surgery was complete and Bryn was doing well. We could see him.   THANK YOU.  

Wow, what  a terrifying, amazing, heartbreaking, and inspiring sight it was to behold.   There he was, my wee nephew, all wired up and swollen, being pumped full of painkillers.  But he was alive.  And Bryn’s first words?  Can I have a popsicle now?

It has been a long road.  Bryn was home by the following Monday, and minus a few blips that sent him back into the hospital for safety (minor infections, dizziness) he has thrived.  He has a titanium plate in his skull, and a large scar up the back of his neck, forever branding him brave with all he has been through.  In May, my sister announced that Bryn’s team of 14 doctors had given him the go ahead to return to being a "normal boy"; he was allowed to again live a life that included swings, soccer balls, outdoor recesses, phys. ed class, and all the things he had to shy away from while healing.  Although he has permanently lost most of the vision in his left eye due to all the pressure put on his optic nerve from the growing tumour, he continues to be super-optimistic as he sports his new protective glasses with confidence.

So where are things now?  Well, just in August Bryn had another MRI that did show more “spots” on his images that the doctors cannot identify.  They could be scar tissue, more tumours, or cysts……but the only way to know for sure would be to go back inside of the little guys skull to biopsy.  We all agree that he’s been through enough for 2011, so now we just wait to see what next years now-routine MRI brings.  And in the meantime we continue to pray for our little angel, the soon to be seven year old Bryn Douglas George.  

I love you Brynner, you're our little fighter!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments! Share away!