November 13, 2010

Adam's Tumor

Some bad news: we found out on Thursday that Adam has a serious brain tumor. He’s in the hospital now and is going to have at least two operations in the next few days.
Some background: when we adopted Adam in Ethiopia last June, he was somewhat delayed, due to being in orphanages for about a year. At the time, he could barely crawl. After bringing him home, he advanced quite quickly, and was walking by the end of the year. He’s always been a little unsteady, and never learned to run or jump, but we chalked this up to his delayed development.
However, a few months ago, while he was going up & down stairs well, we became more concerned that he wasn’t making as much progress as we hoped; he was also noticeably shaky (wobbly, having trouble standing still), particularly right after waking in the morning or after his nap. However, other than that, he was doing well; in particular, his speech has continued to develop.
A few weeks ago, we took him to his pediatrician, who agreed that his symptoms called for him to be seen by a neurologist; when we saw the neurologist, she recommended some tests, including an EEG and an MRI. When he had the MRI on Thursday, it was clear that he has a large tumor in his brain’s ventricles; the tumor is causing overproduction of cerebrospinal fluid, which is causing hydrocephalus.
Thankfully, he thus far hasn’t had any acute symptoms (no seizures or other obvious neurological issues). However, out of fear that acute symptoms could develop, he’s been admitted to the hospital (Weill Cornell / NewYork-Presbyterian in Manhattan).
On Monday, he’ll have a procedure where they will thread a catheter up to his brain and inject a dye to take detailed images of the tumor (an angiogram); they may also close off some of the blood vessels serving it (embolization), and I believe they’ll install a drain to allow taking off some of the fluid pressure.
On Tuesday, he’ll have surgery to remove the tumor. Then they’ll biopsy the tumor to determine if it’s benign or malignant; that will tell us more about what the future will hold for him.
He’s in the hospital as a precautionary measure, not because he’s noticably ill: he’s the same happy, active kid he was a few days ago, although a little tired of being stuck in bed all day and hooked up to monitors. (Not to mention the hospital food.)
While this is tragic, let’s remember that Adam’s a very lucky kid: I think that if you’re going to have a brain tumor, New York City is as good a place as any to have it, at least presuming you have good insurance (certainly better than Addis Ababa). His surgeon is a world-class pediatric neurosurgeon, a specialist in removal of intraventricular tumors. (He’s also got a room with a beautiful view of the East River.)
Lucy & Henry are dealing with it well so far; they’re sending their love and their drawings.
Thanks for all your offers of help & support. We’ll be happy to take you up on your offers of play dates, etc.; right now, we have two grandparents in town, so we have enough pairs of hands for watching kids, etc.

5 comments:

Buddy said...

Tim, please know that Nancy and I are praying for Adam and have all of your family in our thoughts and prayers. We do appreciate the update and will be checking in with Ali and Kevin these coming days ahead. Again, we are thinking of you all. Take care.

Buddy and Nancy

Something Like Normal said...

Hi Tim and Laura,

I didnt' know about this blog to keep updated on things. I am soooo sorry that you and Adam have to go through this. You are in my prayers - I just asked someone to keep him in her prayers and she remembered him from Sentayehu's birthday party! Please call me as soon as you need a play date or babysitter and Taye and I will be right over to help out. - Ali Seubert

Bryan said...

Hey, we're keeping Adam in our thoughts - he's so fortunate to have become part of your family. Best to you, Laura, Lucy, & Henry.

...Bryan & Gina

Bobbie Vittery said...

Hit Tim and Laura,
Tracy told me about this blog and I am glad to read about Adam's condition from you. I am keeping the entire Dierk family in my thoughts and prayers.
You know I always thought that Adam was lucky to be chosen by you and Laura and now I am sure he was lucky to be in such good hands.
Bobbie Vittery

s said...

I am at Tracy's house and we want to add our thoughts and well wishes to Adam. We hope all is going OK today. Great Grandma has had Adam added to a prayer list here in CT. If we can help in any way, please let us know. Love to all of you. Tracy and/or I will be glad to come down for a day to help with the kids or whatever you need.
Betsy and Tracy