When What You Wrote As Fiction Has Become Reality!

If you’ve followed the medical history of my youngest son, Christopher, you’ll understand what I’ve got to say now much more. In any case, if you aren’t up on his history, a little tidbit of info on this for the past fifteen years can be found in my blog post, Maternal Moxie: Tenacious Moms of Special Needs Kids.

This morning, I took Christopher for his every-two-year MRI scan. It is to check on the remnant of a brain tumor attached to his brainstem since he was diagnosed with it at 13 months old. Surgeries and radiation therapy followed, the latter to try and stop regrowth. Since 2007, the tumor has been lying dormant, thank God.

There was a scare in the fall of 2008 that the tumor and the cyst it creates had grown a tad. I had to return with Christopher for another MRI scan the next month to make sure before starting up a long, dreadful year of chemotherapy, that he’d been able to avoid all those years.

Feeling desperate, I turned to the Saints of my church. Something I’d never done up to that point. I asked the Panagia (Virgin Mary/Mother of God), Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and Saint Nektarios to pray for my son.

Within 15-30 minutes, I felt the heaviness sitting on my shoulders be literally lifted off of them and has never returned. I felt at peace.

The next month, I took Christopher in for the MRI scan. The doctor came back to tell me that, for some reason, the tumor had shrunk back a bit, as well as the cyst. He didn’t know why, but I did. The Saints had and still pray for my son, and the prayers of the righteous are powerful!

Since then, the tumor has been stable and dormant, thank God.

Today, I was hoping for the same result.

But that’s not what I got this go around.

Via my Facebook post this morning (minus one of the MRI scanned photos):

First and foremost, Glory to God. The oncologist said that the portion of the brain tumor that has been attached to Christopher’s brainstorm for just over fifteen years has disappeared/gone away!

However, he said he and the radiologists may need a closer look on that at some point, but still, it’s not there on the scan! 

Here are the two pics from 2013 scan to today’s. The first picture shows the white portion next to the gray section in the middle of the head is the remaining tumor back in 2013. Today’s scan — the picture on the right— doesn’t show it there anymore! 

Having said that, the doctor said Christopher will be getting scans every 3 years for the rest of his life, due to the damage of the radiation that can cause benign tumors outside the brain. However, those are easier to remove!

Along with this, he’s referring Christopher for a multi-disciplinary clinic check up for him transitioning to adulthood. So, he’ll see a neuro-psychologist, endocrinologist, and rehab specialist to check his ability to drive and other things. He’s also being referred to “plastics” (what the doctor called it) to discuss working on his face through nerve work to even out his face. The left side of his face droops a bit and is partially paralyzed (with 7th nerve palsy in his left eye, with an eyelid that doesn’t totally close, and severe hearing loss in his left ear).

Of course, at first Christopher said he wasn’t interested in facial plastic surgery (basically what I’m thinking the doctor meant by “plastics”) because he doesn’t want scars. The oncologist explained there won’t be any scars. That’s what “plastics” does and gets rid of. Ha ha!

Nevertheless, the oncologist told him he can say, “No” after meeting with the “plastics” doctor if he still doesn’t want to do that. 🙂

Also, the nurse put in a referral to an ophthalmologist/eye doctor per the oncologist’s recommendation. I’m very happy about this, because I wasn’t sure who to go to for this. He’s overdue for an eye check. 

The third picture farthest to the right is damage on the left side, lower portion of his brain from the tumor, surgeries and radiation that is lit up in white. But the oncologist said the thinking portion on the top and upper portions of his brain look good and are okay, thank God. 

Again, this is the best news we’ve gotten on Christopher’s tumor since years ago when it was stabilized. Thank God!

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The Wood’s Song (3 Minute Video)

semantron pic

I never tire of watching this video and thought I’d share it with you. I love traditions from different countries and religions. I find them fascinating. Perhaps you do, too? I hope so!

Pictured above is a wooden board called a semantron used in Eastern Orthodox Christian monasteries where monks use mallets to bang against the wood, making a cool sound that is used as a call to prayer (like bells are used at churches). Here’s a history of the use of the semantron via Wikipedia:

The portable semantron is made of a long, well-planed piece of timber, usually heart of maple (but also beech), from 12 feet (3.7 m) and upwards in length, by 1 12 feet (46 cm) broad, and 9 inches (23 cm) in thickness.[2] Of Levantine and Egyptian origin, its use flourished in Greece and on Mount Athos before spreading among Eastern Orthodox in what are now Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Macedonia. It both predates and substitutes for bells (first introduced to the East in 865 by the Venetians, who gave a dozen to Michael III),[3] being used to call worshipers to prayer. 

In the portable wooden form, at the centre of the instrument’s length, each edge is slightly scooped out to allow the player to grasp it by the left hand, while he or she holds a small wooden (or sometimes iron) mallet in the right, with which to strike it in various parts and at various angles, eliciting loud, somewhat musical sounds (κροῦσμα, krousma).[2]

Although simple, the instrument nonetheless produces a strong resonance and a variety of different intonations, depending on the thickness of the place struck and the intensity of the force used, so that quite subtle results can be obtained.[5] A metal semantron, smaller than those of wood, is usually hung near the entrance of the catholicon (the monastery’s main church).[6] In the traditional monastic ritual, before each service the assigned player takes a wooden semantron and, standing before the west end of the catholicon, strikes on it three hard and distinct blows with the mallet. He then proceeds round the outside of the church, turning to the four quarters and playing on the instrument by striking blows of varying force on different parts of the wood at uneven intervals, always winding up the “tune” with three blows similar to those at the beginning.[3]

The video is three minutes in length.  I hope you enjoy it!

(Romanian monk hitting the semantron with wooden mallets for a call to prayer courtesy youtube)

 

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