Monday, July 02, 2007

Neurologist visit

Miss Alice and I went to see her pediatric neurologist, Dr. Susan Arnold, today. Dr. Arnold has had a chance to pore over her most recent MRI results and had some interesting observations. First, she saw no evidence that Alice's condition is in any way partially congenital. This is significant. You see, as far as we knew when we adopted Alice, she had been a normal infant up until around 11 or 12 months of age, and that something had occurred at that time -- some kind of injury, either deliberate or accidental -- which dramatically changed her brain development and caused the right side of her brain to have scarring and severe atrophy.

A couple of years ago, when we first noticed her having seizures, the neurologist in Des Moines did another MRI, and the group's consensus was that her problems stemmed from two sources -- that she was injured, yes, but that there was an indication of something called a "migrational disorder" that was present at birth.

Today, Dr. Arnold said she saw no evidence for that at all, that as far as she could tell, whatever happened to Alice was a result of injury... an injury that happened fairly early on, because Alice's left hand and foot are significantly smaller than her right counterparts. This is consistent with what we had been told at the very beginning.

This also means that she is a better candidate for possible surgery to either separate the hemispheres or remove the affected part of the brain altogether. If her problems were a migrational disorder, there wouldn't be a good way to separate that out.

It's hard to think about, letting doctors open up my baby girl's head and take out part of her brain. But it may be her best chance at something close to normalcy. Letting her continue to experience the seizures just isn't a good thing; at any time, she could have a severely big one that could short out her entire brain and leave her paralyzed or dead. If surgery could help lessen that high risk, then it may be what we have to do.

Doesn't mean I like the idea, though.

There are times when I seriously dislike having to be a grownup.

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