After several months of testing, they learned that Christian has a large mass in his brain that triggers the seizures. Stress seems to make the seizures worse and he’s painfully shy. (Can you imagine being shy and constantly afraid you’ll be humiliated by falling onto the floor in a seizure…and being 13?)
Christian is my grandson and he and his family live on the family farm in Florida. Like most boys his age, Christian loves to play video games, prefers chicken nuggets to vegetables, and he picks on his little sister until he drives the adults around him crazy. He’s quick with math computations, often showing off by keeping a running total of the grocery cart.
Each morning, Dad/Justin/my son gets up very early to go to his job as a house painter. Later, Mom/Janie goes off to her job as a medical tech. Each morning, my mother (his great-grandmother) and Christian take Christian’s sister to school, then they go to water cattle at the pasture.
Then, Christian goes to Nanny’s house to do his computerized school lessons. Unlike most 13 year old boys, at this time he doesn’t go to school.
Christian’s seizures so interfered with his normal life that doctors performed brain surgery on him in 2013. It helped to reduce the seizures for a short time, but it wasn’t enough. The first surgery affected his vision, requiring a second surgery on his eye. And now, it is time for yet another surgery, to go after the rest of the offensive tissue that causes the seizures.
Janie’s job has good insurance (costing most of her pay), but any insurance has co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses . At a time when finances are tight and extra money is most crucial, they’ll need to take off time to sit by their son’s bed, hold his hand, and wait to see if the surgery to remove the invader has succeeded without affecting Christian’s ability to play his video games and live the most normal life he can. Brain surgery is tricky stuff. Will his vision be affected? Will he still be himself? There is a lot to worry about. They’re spending a lot of time with their church family, saying a lot of prayers. The last thing they need is to worry about money.
Christian will report to the hospital on July 10 for his first surgery. A second surgery will follow on July 17. This surgery will cost thousands of dollars from the family budget (they have a $5,000 out of pocket maximum). They still have medical bills from the other surgeries and monthly related medical expenses (medications, etc.) related to his care. The doctors spent over 15 hours on the last surgery – disconnecting pathways and removing the outer portion of the mass. This time the surgery will be more intense – removing the mass nestled in the visual cortex. The surgery requires Christian be in the hospital for several weeks.
My mom and my niece were talking about how we have a big family and we know a lot of people. During Christian’s last surgery, a lot of people passed on the story and sent prayers. Christian felt a little famous and well-loved. What if everyone just sent a dollar or two (more if they have it) to help Justin and Janie with the finances of this hard time? A lot of people sharing a little, just what they could spare, would make a big difference for our family during this time.
Can you help?
- Wendy Beccacece
- Josh and Charlee L
- Kevin & Jenaica Gagne
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