Good News and Bad News: Results from the Brain MRI

OK, gang – we got the results from Jax’s brain MRI. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

OK – The good news is that Jax’s MRI did not show any of the brain damage they were expecting to see!

A Happy, smiling toddler

Are you ready for the bad news? (Yeah, neither was I.)

Jax has a brain tumor.

During the MRI, they found a mass in Jaxson’s brain that lit up when they did the contrast dye. It is about the size of a dime and is located on the right thalamus.

We are very glad that we decided to go forward with the MRI because we caught the tumor now, when it is still small, but are completely floored by this incidental finding.

At this point, his neurosurgeon is fairly confident that it is a low-grade, high-water-content, benign tumor – which is very, very good news! We were referred to a pediatric neuro-oncologist to be sure it’s not cancerous.

It is possible the tumor is causing the problems with Jax’s left eye and left foot.

If a benign tumor is found in a different part of the body (like your leg or arm), doctors usually leave it alone until/unless it starts causing problems. In the brain, however, any tumor is a huge deal – they usually do not let them hang around.

If Jax’s tumor was near the outside of his brain, he would probably already be scheduled for brain surgery.

However, the thalamus is deep in the brain. Thankfully, the neurosurgeon said there is a clear path to the tumor, so surgery is possible, if and when it’s necessary. Surgery to remove the tumor will be extremely difficult and intense and the risk of permanent brain damage is high.

brain MRI image showing tumor on the right thalamus
Jax’s tumor. I’m not a fan.

Doctors are weighing the risks of leaving it in and watching to see if it grows or of removing the tumor right away. Right now, we are scheduled to go back for another MRI in October to check for growth. But, after we meet with the neuro-oncologist, we might have a different plan.

We do not know what will happen, yet.

We are completely overwhelmed with this news and are having a hard time processing it. And we don’t really have any answers.

Mainly, both Steve and I are really pissed off! Is Jax ever going to get a break?!

We are going to take some time off from the blog (and the world in general) for a week or so, to give us some time to process and make a plan with our new neurosurgery team. (HA – and here I thought we were in the process of crossing specialists off the list!)

The universe is kind of being an asshole.