On Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, we woke up in the hospital and found out that the doctors wanted to do an additional MRI of Travis’ head and full spine. They had done an MRI of his head on Tuesday and wanted to do a more detailed scan. Tony remembered thinking that it didn’t sound good but the idea of a tumor never came up. After coming back up to the room a couple of hours later, the Child Life Specialist asked if she could take Travis down to the play room so the doctors could talk to Tony. When he walked back in the room, there was a team of about 8 doctors, nurses and a social worker. It was such an ominous feeling it was hard to focus on what they were actually saying. But, they did break the news that they had found a “mass” in Travis’ 4th brain ventricle and that they would be scheduling surgery for the very next day to remove it. Wow, that was totally devastating news to hear!
Knowing nothing about the brain beyond common terms and hearing the term tumor, you assume the worst. It was hard to hold things together when you are freaking out but Tony had to focus on Travis and work with the team to explain everything to him later in the day. Another hard part was that Lynne had gone into work at preschool that morning and this was not the kind of news you share over the phone before driving down to the hospital. So, Tony had to wait until she arrived to share the news. That was devastating as parents to have that conversation!
We had a meeting later in the afternoon with our neuro-oncologist where he went through some more detail of their findings and discussed the surgery scheduled for the next day. This is the part where many of the specialists credit our pediatrician with having the experience to recommend checking into the hospital so quickly which allowed them to find things early. That was one piece of encouraging news we heard in the midst of all of the chaos.
The next step was to work with the Child Life Specialist to explain everything to Travis. They are so good at what they do and really know how to put things in terms that kids can understand. I think it even helped us to hear things in those terms after hearing the whole technical discussion. Even though Travis was scared, he asked some really good questions and seemed to handle the news as well as can be expected. Again, that was devastating as parents to have that conversation with your child!
It was hard to leave the hospital that night but Tony had to go home and explain everything to Tyler. At this point, there was so much that was completely out of our control and no time to really digest what was going on. We had to put our trust in our world class team of doctors and have faith in God that everything would turn out. Needless to say, it was hard to sleep that night…
Tony and Lynne