Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Broken Heart

On Tuesday, December 19, I received a call that instantly and completely broke my heart.
My 4 year old niece, Lauren, had been rushed to the hospital with what was discovered to be a bleed on her brain.
Turns out that she has a genetic condition known as AVM (arteriovenous malformation). It is a tangle of blood vessels located anywhere in the body, but more predominantly in the brain. That senator from South Dakota (Iowa?) who recently had brain surgery had an AVM.

They can rupture. Unless they rupture, you don't always know that you have one. You certainly don't routinely do MRIs on a perfectly healthy (and unbelievably precious) 4 year old girl.

Lauren's ruptured during naptime at daycare on December 19th. She woke up from her nap crying and unable to walk, move her right side, talk or open her eyes. They called my sister-in-law, who called 911 and Lauren was rushed to the hospital.

A few hours later, she was airlifted to Kaiser Permanente Oakland (from Sacramento Kaiser) where she was admitted to Pediatric ICU.

My parents caught the next flight out of Toledo to be by her side. The pope and I flew down on Sunday to see her.
She is talking again, although with some difficulty. She does not have full use of her right hand and can't stand on her right leg. Her smile comes and goes on the right side of her face - sometimes it is perfectly fine, other times she smiles and only the left side moves.

She knows she has an owie in her head and that is why she can't color with her right hand as she used to.

I can't talk too much about it right now, because I'm exhausted from the quick trip to Oakland and the visits by my beloved niece's ICU bed.

They need to do an angiogram (where they inject dye into the affected area) to trace the blood vessels and pinpoint exactly where the AVM is to help them understand the risks associated with the surgery. SURGERY. My 4 year old niece will have brain surgery in the next week. That is a fact. They will go in and try to cut this out so that it never bleeds again. All we know is an approximate location: deep in the center of her brain near her basal ganglia.

I'm posting this so that you pray for her. Please please send a prayer for her. She is the light of our lives. She is the most beautiful little girl that I have ever seen. She is the loveliest, smartest and most precocious little girl I've ever met.

This is Lauren:

Please keep her and my brother & sister-in-law in your thoughts.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Wow, I just checked your blog and was saddened to hear about the awful news. I hope Lauren is feeling better and the surgery goes well! Stuff like this shouldn't happen to 4 year old girls :(