In early October, 2014, while we were on a family vacation in Walt Disney World, our son, AJ developed some problems with his coordination and walking. Before the trip we had seen some problems with his eyes (he actually had an appointment with a developmental optometrist scheduled just a few days after our planned return), so we all thought his difficulties stemmed from his worsening vision. However, as the week wore on, his symptoms appeared more and more neurological, so we cut the trip short and came home straight to his pediatrician. The pediatrician, in turn, referred him straight to East Tennessee Children's Hospital (Knoxville) for a CT scan, where he was found to have multiple tumors in his brain. These tumors are in a difficult area, and are blocking the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid in his brain, causing a build up of fluid and pressure at this time.
As we start this page, he is in PICU at Children's. They are giving him steroids to reduce the swelling, and plan to put in a shunt and biopsy the tumors on Monday morning. Of course, if his symptoms worsen significantly, they will place a shunt earlier, but the team would like to do only one surgery with a very small incision to improve his healing time and to allow him to proceed more quickly to the probable next stage of treatment.
For now, we are finding it difficult to talk to people too much -- this is more overwhelming than we ever would have imagined. AJ is the sweetest and most outgoing kid you'll ever meet -- he's already made lots of friends with the nurses and other staff here at the hospital. Our whole family is devastated by this event and request people's most sincere prayers for healing for him, for guidance for his medical team, and for strength and courage for the rest of us.
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