These are some of Abigail’s many MRI scans. First day of life, a tumor consuming most of her skull. Six weeks later, some of the fluid and hemorrhaging dissipating, compressed brain tissue bouncing back to life, nothing short of miraculous. And now, two images from her latest MRI in April. Tumor removed, but massive brain loss remains. A MRI scan that likely will never look “normal”. Residual effects on movement, cognition, vision, and whatever else will likely remain for years to come. Countless hours of therapy to do something so simple as to open her right hand.
But she is here. And doing exceptionally well. I share this not to minimize the miraculous feats she accomplishes every day. But I share this to show what a benign (which can imply “not harmful”) tumor can do. And if this is the aftermath of a benign tumor, what about the aftermath of a malignant brain tumor?! Children that endure the poison of chemo and radiation, multiple surgeries, complications, illness and death. Losing their lives bit by bit with every passing day. And the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters that can only watch helplessly.
This is the last day of May. And the last day of the official “Pediatric Brain Tumor Awareness” month. But for families impacted, there is no end to the “awareness” they face everyday. The struggle of not knowing what will happen, juggling the emotions of stress, anxiety, and depression while still fighting for a normal life, weighs heavily on a family. Our family was helped through our darkest times by kindness and love from others, and we know others also need that. Be a light to these families, reach out, help out, show them love. If you know them, do something. Bring a meal, fold laundry, watch some kids, mow a yard. Support comes in many forms, all will be appreciated. Rally around theses families and carry them when they cannot endure another step.
May and every day.