Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Good Hands

Ten years ago the summer before Jackson started second grade, a routine physical revealed a vision change and we were sent to see an opthamologist. After his eye exam the Dr. told me he wanted him to have an MRI on his head. My heart sank to my toes. I knew he was looking for a brain tumor. The MRI was performed and within a day or two his pediatrician called to say he did not have a tumor but they had discovered a malformation and he needed to see a Neurosurgeon. No words can describe the helplessness and fear those words produced.

After another MRI the neurosurgeon, Dr. Shapiro informed us that Jackson had an Arnold-Chiari Malformation Grade I. (A dorky name for a serious disorder). In an Arnold-Chiari I malformation, the brain extends into the spinal canal. This is a narrow opening and a tight fit when the end of your brain is not supposed to be there. Chiari's are graded from I to IV with I being the least severe. Jackson was showing no symptoms and it was explained to us that many people are walking around with this disorder and don't even know it. Because of modern technology it was found.

Arnold Chiari - Grade I

He had another MRI the next summer with no change and has had one every two years since then. I have to add that Dr. Shapiro (now retired) is an excellent surgeon and world known for being a part of the team that separated the Egyptian twins at Childrens Hospital in Dallas.

Before Surgery

After Surgery

This past Thursday we went for another MRI. As we have always done Tom and I sat in the room with him for 45 minutes while the MRI banged, clanged and hummed like a futuristic machine in a science fiction movie. He has not used sedation to get through this since he was 10. (He needed to be alert when he got home in order to play Nintendo.) When he was little I could sit with my hand on his leg so he would know we were there. This time I watched his breathing looking for signs of nervousness. His results were good. His Dr. wants to do one more MRI in two years and if all is well he will be discharged from future visits.

Sitting in the Dr's waiting room I looked around at all the brave souls, children and parents waiting to hear their results. From tiny babies to young adults, I know they are in "Good Hands" and they are being seen by some of the best physicians at the best hospital!

Children's Medical Center - Dallas, Texas


  1. I don't know if I knew this about Jackson??? I'm so glad results were good. He's a pretty tall good looking senior to have that disorder! :-)
    what a sigh of relief!

  2. I know you are glad that is over....again!

    One more time and that will be it!

    I know you feel he is in good hands.

  3. hello , I too have had the surgery and also have SM . Are you in Arkansas. There is a chairi specialist in Fort Smith . He is great , if at anytime you want a 2nd opinion. I am frm Little Rock. Best wishes .

  4. Hi Kathy!! Wow! It's so great to hear from you! It's been a long time, hasn't it? I'm very glad to know that Jackson got some good results back from his MRI. I'm sure the future ones will turn out just as well. Hope Uncle Doyne and Aunt Shirley are doing alright these days. Please give them my love. I'll check back when I have a little more time...unfortunately, the treadmill is calling. Take care!!!

  5. Kathy, I'm glad Jackson is doing well. But , Jackson and I have 2 things in common. I had the Arnold Ciari surgery when I was a few hrs. old. And , Dr. Shapiro did a few of my surgeries when I was younger. He did my Arnold Ciari surgery and he did my Teatherd Cord Surgery around Christmas ' 96. I got to go home 2 day before Christmas that year. And I don't know if anyone saw on almost ALL the DFW Area News Channels on the Sports section they did a story on some of the Dallas Cowboy's Players and Cheerleaders came to meet the kids. Well, It was the day BEFORE my Teatherd Cord Surgery. But, My Dad and I were sitting in the waiting room waiting to be called back to see Dr. Shapiro. And Dad saw TROY AIKMAN fixing to leave. Well, Me and my pretty smart idea . . . I wanted to meet him so bad. . . So , there in the waiting room I BEGGED my Dad to HURRY and take me down there to meet Mr. Aikman . . . We made it just in time !!! I wheel up to a Suit and Tie dressed Security Man and carefully tugged on his coat jacket. Totally ignoring my pretty 10 yr. old at the time face !!! So , Ladies before I go farther ... Ya'll might want to sit!!! TROY sees me waiting to ask if I can meet him! I didn't hear him at first say "Hey Sweetie , Come here!" So , He whistles for me. That I heard. The next thing I know ... HE POINTS TO ME AND GIVES ME THE "COME HERE SIGNAL"!!! Ladies I ABOUT DIE (In other words fall out of my chair and PASS OUT ) Right there in front of ALL the cameras that were NOW turned on and My Dad a few feet from me. So I push my self up to Mr. Aikman FABULOUS WHITE Camaro or what ever he was driving!!!! I totally accidently bump into the side of his car . . . Which I'm still to this very day embarassed about. And then after we meet talk a few moments . My Dad pushes me back in while I'm in my wheelchair totally excited of who I just met. And I'm doing the "Yes! Yes! Yes! Throwing my arms carefully up in the air kinda doing the Touch Down Move ... Yeah ..... ALL DFW News casters gets all that on tape