If you are reading this, you already know what a sweet, wonderful, beautiful little girl Ava is. She is so precious to us and so many.
On April 5, an MRI showed a tumor growing in Ava's brain. This was a complete shock to us as her only symptom has been a small limp.
We figured this would be the easiest way to communicate info about Ava and the process that is just starting with her.
The beginning of 2011, I watched Ava step off the bottom step of our stairs kind of funny. She fell down and started to cry. After the tears dried, she got up to go about whatever she was doing, but she walked with a limp. I figured she had tweeked her foot a little and that it would work it's self out after a little bit. After a week she was still limping. I took her to our chiropractor and he found her hamstring was a bit tight. She seemed to get better after that, but over the course of this past year, the limp never completely went away and eventually became more pronounced. I brought the issue up with her pediatrician a couple times, we had a couple sets of xrays taken and both times everything looked normal.
Early in 2012, two chiropractors we know, independently told us they noticed her limp and that we should consider taking her to a pediatric orthopedist. Our pediatrician had suggested the same thing after the second set of xrays came back not showing anything wrong with her bone growth. An MRI was suggested.
To be honest, both Jeff and I were skeptical that there was anything wrong with Ava's brain as she has excellent verbal skills, fine motor skills, reasoning, etc. We felt like it was a hoop we had to jump through, rule out and move on to the next thing.
The results of Ava's MRI on April 5, 2012 were a complete shock to us. Ava has a tumor at the base of her brain stem. It encompasses her nerves and a major artery, making it's complete removal impossible.
2012 was the worst year of our lives. Ava experienced every complication possible to a procedure we were told was routine. We spent April, May and June 2012 in the U of M children's hospital in Minneapolis. We came home finally in July only to return to the Duluth hospital for 10 days. Ava has endured two brain surgeries, developed hydrocephalus, had a shunt placed, feeding tube and trach. She has had three different ports placed as the first one developed a staph infection. She has spent months vomiting.
Driving to the cities for our first surgery, I was praying and asking God if Ava would be alright. I felt like He said yes, she would be alright, but it would be long and hard. So I asked how long... and I felt like he said a year. It would be a long hard year.
We had no idea how long and hard of a year it would be. I'm writing this in June 2013. Our year mark is up and things are better. We have watched miracles happen over the past year, literal miracles. God has healed Ava in so many ways. She still has hurdles to cross, but everyday she fights.
The Good Lord has said that Ava will overcome and she will be alright. So she will be. We pray everyday for that damned tumor to shrivel up and go away, for the medical world to be amazed and for God to be glorified in our lives.