Roughly three years ago, my 12-year-old niece told her mother that she was having trouble seeing her school work. She complained that she could not see the homework on the table in front of her. My sister-in-law made an emergency eye doctor’s appointment for the next day. The doctor noticed swelling near the optic nerve and sent them immediately to the nearby children’s hospital to see a neurologist. By the end of the day, the family was informed that my niece had a grapefruit-sized tumor inside her brain.
This tumor had pressed on the optic nerve and caused her to lose her sight. The tumor had actually caused so much pressure inside her brain that if the it had not been caught when it was, she would have died within the week. Emergency surgery was scheduled. The tumor was not sitting on the brain, like many are. It was inside the brain and very large. Thank God the surgeon who operated on her happened to be one of the most skilled pediatric brain surgeons in America. He used a relatively new technique to remove the tumor from the inside out, leaving all surrounding brain tissue untouched.They tested the tumor, and it was benign.
We spent the entire day of the surgery in the hospital, praying fervently. She and her family spent many weeks in the hospital during her recovery. There were some fluid issues and subsequent surgeries and stints were required, but by the grace of God she made it through. She lived.
She is 15 now. She has been attending a school for the sight impaired and learning to read braille, along with many other skills. It has not been an easy road. She went from being “normal” and able to do everything on her own, to being “different,” having “special needs,” and requiring assistance in almost every area of her life. She has struggled. It is hard enough simply being a teenaged girl.
It hasn’t been easy, but she and the whole family, knows we are blessed. I wear gray for my niece.