We got the results a couple of weeks ago and like I mentioned in a previous post it’s hard to wrap your head and heart around the words “your son has brain damage”. Even though I knew that was likely, I was still hoping that the scan might be normal. Well, it wasn’t. The scan showed some spots of damage on the right side of the brain – there was one small spot on the left but the doctor figured that it was inconsequential. The damage was consistent with him being deprived of oxygen at some point. However, these results were a bit strange. Any readers that have hemiplegia or children with hemiplegia will notice the discrepancy immediately. Bennett is a right hemi. This means that the damage should be on the left side of his brain. I didn’t realize this until after I got off the phone with the doctor and read the report myself. So I called her back and asked for a possible explanation. She didn’t have one and said that she had forgotten that Bennett was a right hemi and was just assuming he was a left hemi. The report is now being sent to Sick Kids for further interpretation and to see if they have an explanation.
One of my biggest fears about getting the MRI is that they would find something else wrong and I would end up longing for the “good ole days” when Bennett “just” had cerebral palsy. Well, once again, my fears have been realized. The scan also showed mild to moderate hydrocephalus. This condition is usually treated with a shunt. When I asked the doctor why she wasn’t too worried about this she explained that his head size is well within the normal range and he shows no signs or symptoms of increased pressure to the brain. She said we will keep an eye on it and that it may resolve itself and that it would be a good idea to avoid brain surgery if possible. Despite her words, I’m still worried sick about this and freak out every time Bennett even touches his head.
So, why did I title this post “keeping it real”? Well, because, essentially the brain scan doesn’t mean much. Bennett still has cerebral palsy and he still needs therapy. The MRI does not predict function and it does not show which parts of the brain have already taken over from damaged areas. He’s still the same little boy that likes to lift up his shirt and point to his belly, give wet kisses, flip through book after book, play with his trucks and stuff his face with goldfish.
As much as I know that he’s the same little boy he’s always been I would be lying to say that I don’t look at him differently. I find myself looking with amazement at his gorgeous, perfect little face and wonder how there could possibly be damage there. How could this have happened?!
My questions are pointless I know. Bennett is who he is and he is a wonderful little boy and so loved.