Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's not brain surgery

Actually, it really ISN'T.

After extensive testing of her field of vision, the neurologists have determined that Alice is NOT a candidate for a hemispherectomy after all. Alice's particular case is quite complicated and doesn't easily fall into a single category of "one side of the brain is bad, the other is good."

Yes, she has frequent seizures originating in the right hemisphere, but the one damaged place on her left hemisphere just happens to be in the area governing vision, so her right hemisphere has actually taken over that one place. If they were to go ahead with the surgery, it's likely she'd be at least partially blind -- something we do not want.

It'd be one thing if her continual seizures were fully-involved and completely debilitating; in such a case, blindness would be an acceptable tradeoff for seizure-free living. But it's not like that.

Her seizures do hinder her schoolwork, but not as much as blindness would.

We'll continue to tweak the medications until we find a happy medium, so to speak. But nobody's gonna be opening up my baby girl's cranium. This, my friends, is reason to celebrate.

It's funny, though. Back before we adopted Alice, when we just had Martha and she was just a toddler, we were looking into adopting again. We had had friends who'd adopted a baby from Korea through Holt International Children's Services, and we were impressed with their organization.

In the initial paperwork was a form that listed all kinds of disabilities and defects that a child may have, and they wanted us to check off any of the ones we would accept in an adopted child. Rick and I agonized over that until we finally realized that it was because there wasn't a single one we felt we could say "no" to in a birth-child, so how could we refuse it in an adopted one?

We earnestly meant it... but I secretly held onto one terrible, horrible fear: Down Syndrome. What if they wanted us to adopt a child with Down Syndrome? I had nightmares about it after we sent off the paperwork.

Today, as we exited the Purple Pavilion at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, I suddenly remembered that again after all these years, and I had to laugh because God was once again proving to me the truth through the Emily Dickinson poem I use on this blog:

Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or ev'ry man be blind.

The idea now of mothering a child with Down Syndrome doesn't even remotely faze me... but had I known then what I know now about mothering a child with Bipolar Disorder and a child with Multifocal Intractable Seizures, it would've terrified me far worse than Down Syndrome! It's a really, really, really, really good thing that God doesn't show us the end from the beginning... he has to "dazzle us gradually" so we don't "go blind."

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