Today would be the day that would change our lives forever.
Maddie had some breakfast this morning and vomited twice in quick succession soon afterwards. We packed up some things and headed back to hospital. They took some details in the Emergency Department and advised there would be a wait of about four hours as they were very busy. I explained that Maddie had been admitted the previous weekend and that her condition had deteriorated since. We ended up waiting for about 10 minutes. Looking back I think even then the doctors realized the seriousness of the situation.
We saw a lovely doctor who noticed immediately that there was a problem with Maddie’s right hand side. He asked how long she had been vomiting for and if it was always in the morning. Maddie also seemed distressed when sitting up and much less so when lying down. He said he would call the neurologists to come check Maddie so they could rule out anything going on in her head. He really should have said to rule it in – as I’m sure that’s what he was thinking.
Sometime later Professor Inder from the Neurology Department came down and had a chat with us. All the signs were pointing to a brain tumor she said. They would need to do an MRI to confirm their fears. We were absolutely stunned. This couldn’t be happening to our little girl. We thought that she had a bad case of gastro and maybe some Bell’s Palsy. The idea of a brain tumor was completely foreign to us and only something that happens to other people.
A couple of hours later the MRI had been done and Professor Inder came back to give us the news. It was a brain tumor and a very large one at that. About half the size of Maddie’s left hand side of her head. Words failed us. Tears seemed the only response we could come up with at that stage. She said that Maddie would need emergency surgery tonight otherwise the chances of making it through the weekend would be very slim.
The surgery would be performed by the hospital’s top neurosurgeon Miss Wirginia Maixner. This incredible lady would bring us to believe that miracles can indeed happen. Maddie’s surgery was completed at 4am in the morning after around 6 hours. Wirginia sat us down and explained how it went. She said the surgery was incredibly difficult and that she able to remove less than one third of the tumor. The tumor itself had started growing from inside the brain, towards the centre, which made resection much more difficult. Maddie had a cardiac arrest a couple of hours into the surgery and stopped breathing. They were able massage her little heart and bring her back to life.
The overwhelming feeling of shock was just starting to subside and the reality of the situation was beginning to dawn on us. We were very, very lucky to still have Maddie with us. She would be in intensive care (ICU) for the immediate time and the thought was to gradually wake her up over the next few days.