Strange MRI Results

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Hi. I hope you guys remember me. My name is Susan, and my now 15 year old son Zach (who had a birthday last week), is at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. He had a MRI last week, and we found out that the chemo he was on DID shrink his tumor (medulloblastoma) and that his brain stem is only SLIGHTLY swollen. We had been assured that since his brain stem had been up to 50% swollen, he had definitely had an infarction. The MRI, however, shows that his brain stem, othen than that slightly swollen part, looks HEALTHY. There is no evidence of stroke or infarction. They told us that there COULD have been a stroke, which had healed, that did not show up. Wouldn't that be unusual?


They are going to start radiation next week. The only thing is that his cervical spine (right below the brain stem) is irritated. Not inflamed, not swollen, just irritated. They can't tell us why, or what it means, or if that is why Zach is unable to move. Except he IS moving - he can move his legs a bit, his toes, his feet ON COMMAND. He can move his fingers a bit, too, and his head from side to side a bit now, especially when he is under stress (like a knee into the chest).


My questions are as follows:


Do any of you who have had brain stem strokes now have normal MRI's of the brain stem???


Did any of the irritation in your brain stem ever move down toward the cervical spine?


Does anyone else think that a neurologist is about as helpful as the housekeeper (okay, maybe even not that helpful??)



Thanks to everyone who responded to my last message. It is hard to get time to get on the internet here in the hospital. Zach is a lot of work right now!!! Any insight is greatly appreciated.



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HI Susan, so glad for the update, think of Zach, you and your family daily.


I'm sorry I don't have any information to give you. But will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


Best wishes and (((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))) to all. Bonnie

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Hi Susan, Great news really. Can't help you with the questions but don't look a gift horse in the mouth. This may just be one of those miracles that sometimes happens; I pray that it is. As for neurologists or any other Dr. being wrong, when one becomes God, let me know. They are only human and sometimes not good ones either.


I look foward to further good news from you about Zack. Maybe he will be the one who will be written up in medical books of the future as the right way to do things.


I send prayers to you, the rest of the family and of course Zack. Tell him Happy birthday for me and that I'm waiting for #16.



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I've been praying for Zach and you, and thank you for the update.


I realize that neurologists seem to be useless at times, but you need to get some one on one time with him/her, ask all the questions you need answers to, and ask the doctor to use layman's terms. I think they get wrapped up in their own little world sometimes, and forget that we don't always understand the terminology they use.


Wishing you the best.



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Okay, the final MRI report is in. They have decided that Zach has had an infarction in his spinal cord in the cervical spine area. It is a lateral (side) posterior stroke. They think it was always there, but is now really showing itself. Most messages run down the center of the cord, so this may bode well for him. No one knows how much he may recover. Could be fully, could be not at all. Could take years, but certainly at least months before we know.


I guess this is better than a brain stem stroke, but I'm feeling kind of crappy about it right now.


Susan :(

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