Well folks, I was right - today was the worst day of our life - and also the best.
We got a good report from the nurse around 2:00pm that told us Noah had done well in the surgery and that the doctor had removed most of the tumor. We praised God and rejoiced in the good news.
An hour later, the lead surgeon Dr. Wellons came out to meet us - and to take us to that private room - again.
It's hard to explain how long it took to walk 50 yards.
He sat us down and began telling us about the procedure. As they removed the part of the skull they noticed that the tumor was more aggressive than what they had hoped. They had hoped to enter the inside of his brain through a small portion on the top left side. The tumor grew inside the middle of his brain. As they developed their game plan, they knew a tough decision had to be made. They had to remove the part of Noah's brain responsible for movement on his right side and speech in order to get to the tumor to remove it. Once they could see it they did say it was every bit as big as a grown man's fist. He told us only 5% of brain tumors in children ever get this big. If we hadn't taken Noah to the hospital on Friday and they hadn't found it and began steroids to stops its growth, he would have been dead by Sunday.
The tumor had aggressively attached itself to key parts of the brain and had several veins going through it. They had to work meticulously and slowly as a team to make sure Noah remained stable. As the surgeons cut away parts of the tumor, they would have to stop frequently to put blood back in his body and get his blood pressure back to normal. It was very orchestrated - very good teamwork. Noah lost 1 and 1/4 of his total blood volume.
At a certain time during the surgery the doctor said he made it to the top of the brain stem. It was at the point much of the tumor had been cut away - especially the parts that supply it with blood. Tumors begin changing color as they loose blood and it became difficult to tell what was brain tissue and what was tumor, so they stopped, sewed him up and got him ready for recovery.
Here is the bad news. A tumor that looks as aggressive as this one does usually means it is malignant - cancer. We will not know for sure for 5 days at least. An MRI will be performed tomorrow so they can see just how much is left in Noah's brain.
This will be a process - and we have jumped the first hurdle in a long race.
Tonight, Noah is stable in the PICU. He is on life support to breathe for him and to help him maintain good blood pressure and other vitals. He is still asleep and will remain asleep until after the MRI which will not happen until after 11:00.
Jessica and I felt like we had all of the wind knocked out of us in that room. We stayed together there after the doctor left trying to figure out how we were going to tell our family and friends waiting in the lobby for us. It was so hard just to put one foot in front of the other, much less stand, as we walked to the crowd.
An old school friend of mine, Rachel Bobo Faulkner, sent us a message. She has seen tremendous loss and heartache in her life and I have respected her for years because she has kept faith in the midst of horrible circumstances. Her encouragement was, "God has chosen those He trusts for His glory."
We know God is being and will continue to be glorified through Noah's life and testimony. God is going to "Show Off" using Noah! God choose us to go through this. Asking "why me?? " is useless - the answer is always "For God's Glory."
We are so exhausted - I have never talked so little in my life - I have no words to say.
We know all things work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
The scripture we are standing on today is Hebrews 12:1-3:
"1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."
May God bless all of you who have prayed for Noah. The gifts and outpouring of love have been overwhelming.
These posts are written by Noah's parents Jessica & John David Crowe. The default author is Jess, and those written by John David will be noted.