We headed off to MacKids today to the oncology clinic. This is the place where Liam will be followed for the rest of his life. The team met with us today to explain what had been found on Liam's MRI and why more follow-up was needed. They showed us the MRI scan that had attracted the concern of the radiologist. There was a mark on Liam's right frontal lobe. It was plain enough that Jason and I could see it clearly and it was definitely in the shape of a rectangle. So his team feels strongly that it is not another tumour. Tumours grow in circles, ovals, and sort of spread out finger like shapes but not rectangles. They believe that it is scar tissue from where one of the forceps was holding his brain back during one or both of the surgeries.
Dr. Singh was there today and she spent extra time with us to make sure that we felt comfortable. She explained that sometimes when the surgery is so long (as in Liam's case) the blood flow is cut off from parts of the brain tissue where they have clamps and slight scars can develop on the brain tissue. The MRI image slides are taken every 5mm through Liam's brain. The mark is on only one slide. So you can't see anything 5mm above or below it. This is another one of the reasons that they feel it not the sign of tumour. The final reason that they feel there is no cause for concern is that this is the first time that Liam has had scans from the new MRI machine that he helped raise money for. This machine is phenomenal and the imaging is so much clearer that the mark has probably always been there but they were never able to see it with the old machine. Just as a precautionary measure they are going to do another MRI in six months instead of a year. So Liam is not happy about that as this will mean more needles six months sooner but both Jason and I feel good that they are just going to make sure.
We did have some other good news. Liam's right ventricle that has been enlarged since the surgery still has not changed. So it is still enlarged but it isn't any bigger than it was after surgery and so no change is actually good news because it doesn't seem to be causing him any problems. So this means that it will probably stay this way and he will have one enlarged ventricle for the rest of his life. As long as it doesn't cause any issues we are thankful! This is another one of God's miracles as most patients with Liam's type of tumour end up having to have a shunt implanted because their ventricle enlarges and causes pressure in the brain because they don't drain properly. And although they are not sure why his ventricle seems to be draining properly and not causing any pressure in Liam's brain. Praise the Lord! We are truly amazed at all the ways God continues to have His hand on Liam's health.
They did a full physical exam of Liam and actually enrolled him in a fitness study for post-op brain tumour patient survivors. He is excited about this opportunity as he will get to participate in a body composition and lung function assessment, muscle power test, aerobic fitness test, motor skills test and he will get to wear a pager like device for a week that monitors his physical activity. All of this information will be used to develop physical activities opportunities designed to improve the health of children recovering from brain tumours.
We were able to tell Dr. Singh and the team that we are moving to Hamilton and that we are looking forward to being closer to MacKids. Hopefully, there will be more opportunities to strengthen the relationships that we have developed with some of Liam's caregivers. They are a fantastic group of people!
No matter what happens when we are at the clinic, I always come away being so thankful for all the God has done. Our journey has been relatively easy compared to some of the difficulties that we see for many other families at the clinic. Most of all, I come away feeling compelled to help those that are walking this difficult journey without knowing the love of Jesus. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like. Thank-you to all those who continue to pray so faithfully for Liam's health and our family. We can't even begin to express how much it means to us.