Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A look inside

There is an awful lot that goes on inside the brain of a three year old. There is singing, there is counting and spelling, there is pretending and imagining -- hundreds of thoughts streaming through those little cells all to create the non-stop, constantly-on-the-go, inquisitive preschooler that we see day to day.

Yesterday we got to see inside Cameron's brain, that is, by way of MRI. We arrived at CHaD's Pain Free area at 9:45am for Cam's 10:30am MRI, only to find out that they were running about 45 minutes behind. We got our hungry bellies comfy in the family waiting room and Cam decided it would be fun to take on a 550 piece puzzle, which really meant Mom and Dad do the puzzle while Cam throws the pieces around and loses interest in the first 10 minutes.

Success only long enough to build two houses, which I'd say is a good accomplishment for 40 minutes of puzzle-ing.

So we entered into Pain Free where the resident anesthesiologist checked Cam out - who has a cold, of course. We knew going there that there was a chance they couldn't do the anesthesia because of his cough & cold, but they said there is no way to know until we get there. The resident decided it would be best to have the doctor check him out, so we waited a little longer until Dr. Hillard came in. I was playing on the floor with Cam and Shawn was in the bathroom. He walked in and says "Hey guys! Nice to see you!" I looked up and must have seemed curious about him because he immediately asked if I remembered him...which I didn't. He then reminded me that he was the doctor who monitored Cam during his surgery! I apologized for not remembering him, as it was obviously a crazy day and we met a lot of people, but Dr. Hillard wanted to know how Cameron was doing. I told him that he's only had one seizure since the surgery, but that it was when he had a high fever, so Dr. Morse is confident that it was related to that. Dr. Hillard was thrilled and said that it was so good to hear the surgery may be a success and he felt really proud to be a part of a potentially life-changing event for Cam. Such sweet words to hear. :)

In the moment, it was equally good to hear that he felt Cameron's airways were clear, his lungs sounded good and he felt he was good to go for the MRI. Phew! We really were hoping to avoid driving up another day for it again. Cam is kind of a pro at this point and went right into the room, hopped up on the bed and laid down. He decorated his watermelon-scented mask with dinosaur stickers and fell asleep. A little over an hour later we met him back in Pain Free and shortly after were sent downstairs to see Dr. Bauer.

This is Cameron's right brain:
The area Dr. Bauer is pointing to is the hippocampus - the worm-looking thing. It's defined and formed well, just as it should be. Everything looks and has looked good on the right side of his brain.

This is Cameron's left brain, post-surgery:
Its pretty obvious to see that the whole central section is missing, which is good. Previously that "worm" on the left side was all globular and misshapen, round and unclear - not very worm-like, as it should have been. The main point of this MRI was for Dr. Bauer to be able to make sure he retracted everything he intended to during the surgery, because unlike an orthopaedic surgeon, they don't have clearly defined areas like an arm or a leg that they are working on. After reviewing the MRI he was confident that he had removed everything he wanted to and he was pleased that Cam has nearly been seizure-free since. He mentioned that his scaring, specifically down by his ear where it's still dark and raised, will get better, but it won't disappear. The hypersensitivity that he's having on his scalp should decrease over the next 9 months. All in all, we were happy to hear that we will likely not have to see Dr. Bauer again, barring any unforeseen complications (knock on wood) in the future.

I saw this and felt like today, of all days, it really rang true. So often we'd heard "I don't know how you guys do it." or "This must be so hard." It was, and it still is, but Cameron is such a smart, energetic, enthusiastic, loving and incredible little boy that we know we'll look back on everything he's been through and everything we've gone through and see that it has made us stronger as a family and really shaped the way we deal with struggles and obstacles. Spending time at CHaD puts things into perspective when you see families with children who are dealing with such bigger issues than we have.

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