Wow. It has been a wild ride for the past two weeks. I’m sorry that I’ve been absent from this little corner of the Internet, but it wasn’t an intentional absence. If it had been up to me, I would have been here. But my family is just now emerging from a very stressful experience.
As some of you know, I’m the proud father of two boys. The younger (whom I shall hereafter refer to as “Tiny Ninja,” a nickname he gave himself a while back but now no longer likes, but he can’t read, so he won’t know) is almost three years old. Tiny Ninja hasn’t walked yet. If you know kids, you know that’s a little unusual. He’s been going to physical therapy. He’s been making progress, but it was suggested that we take him to a neurologist and figure out what might be going on. We saw a very nice neurologist who suggested we have him undergo an MRI. It took a bit of doing, plus a little wrangling with our insurance company, but two weeks ago today, Tiny Ninja was given his MRI. Due to his age, he had to be sedated for the procedure.
Now my wife and I figured as soon as he was done, we’d go home and that’d be it. But as we sat in recovery, waiting for him to fully wake up, a neurosurgeon came in and said she had to speak to us immediately. They had found something on Tiny Ninja’s MRI and she wanted to show us what it was.
And so she showed us an image of a brain tumor.
My immediate reaction was one of abject horror. To my untrained eye, the tumor appeared huge, ridiculously so. The neurosurgeon explained that they were going to admit Tiny Ninja to the PICU immediately and that she would schedule surgery for later in the week to remove the tumor. The next thing we knew, we were in the PICU. We tried to maintain a brave front, especially for Tiny Ninja and his older brother. But in our private moments, we were terrified. A brain tumor? In a two year old boy? Why was this happening? Why was it happening to us?
Over the next few days, we met a lot of doctors and nurses. All of them were wonderful. One, a pediatric oncologist, said that based on what he saw, he believed the tumor was most likely juvenile pilocystic astrocytoma. JPA, it turns out, is the “good kind” of brain tumor, the kind that, if you’re a kid and you have to have a tumor, that’s the one you want.
The surgery took place last Wednesday and lasted close to ten hours. The neurosurgeon said that everything went well. The tumor was removed with no problems or true complications.
And that led us to one of the most bizarre parts of this whole experience. After the surgery, they brought Tiny Ninja back to his room. The nurses and surgeon worked to get him comfortable and, as they worked, the surgeon mentioned that there was a special guest in the PICU, and would we want to meet her? My wife and I looked at each other and asked who it was. She told us. We were stunned, but we figured, “Why not?”
A few minutes later, a diminutive blonde woman walked in and said, “Hi, I’m Gaga.”
She gave both of us a hug, stroked Tiny Ninja’s back, and called him a beautiful angel. And then she was off again.
Thankfully, Tiny Ninja recovered nicely. It turns out that the tumor was indeed JPA, which is apparently curable via surgery. He was released a few days ago and now we’re all trying to recover from this experience.
During this time, we were supported by people all over the world, lifted up in prayer, and we truly appreciate it. I never dreamed that I would have spent the better part of two weeks living in a hospital, wondering what was going to happen to my child. But God is good. All the time.
All the time, God is good.
And so, friends, here we are, emerging from the darkness. And thankful that even in those shadows, we still had the Light of the World. Thanks be to Him.