Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,


September 9, 2003 8:47 am
Steven's brain, looking down from the top, tumor on the left

I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.


Steven's 9th birthday party 8-31-03

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,


First day of school 9-3-03

Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.


The eve of surgery 9-9-03, 11:30 pm
About an hour before he began to fall into a coma

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,


Steven's incision post-surgery 9-10-03
No stitches, they used dermabond

And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.


Steven's first post-surgery smile seeing his cousin Noah for the first time

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,


Steven in the art room 9-11-03 (we went home that evening)

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-- William Ernest Henley

Two years ago, on September 9, we saw the MRI image of Steven's brain tumor for the first time.

I decided to mark this anniversary by finding and viewing the batch of photos I took at his 9th birthday party and then later at the hospital.

I haven't been able to screw up the courage to look at them before now, but that's what neurosis is all about, isn't it?

I'm working on it. We may be bloodied, but we're still unbowed.

- Kathleen



This is the right sagittal (side) view


This is the cortical (rear) view

For some friends who asked, Steven's tumor was approximately 6.5 cm across, about the size of a plum. The doctors told us it probably grew that size in 5-6 months. He had an MRI 11 months previously for an entirely different reason, there was no sign of tumor on that MRI.

Looking back, we could have seen some symptoms as far back as May, when he had an odd episode of vomiting at the photo session for his First Communion. In July there were a couple of times that he had headaches, but regular (though intermittent) symptoms didn't occur until mid-August. He attended school the day before he was diagnosed.

The tumor was in his right frontal lobe. The MRI images are mirror images, so what appears on the left in the scans is actually on the right. The MRI scans show how much the tumor shifted his midline toward the left (right in the images).

3 Comments:

Blogger Me said...

great post....

September 11, 2005 4:10 PM  
Blogger Kyra said...

the strongest tree is the one that bends and sways with the winds of life. this is the tree that may change its shape and form, may end up growing in a different pattern than originally envisioned, but does not break under the force. it is also the tree which knows the greatest peace during times of calm and feels the greatest joy at the unfurling of each new leaf.

May you know God's peace and joy and be strengthened each day to bend and sway but never break. It has been my deep pleasure to come to know you and your incredible son. You are in my daily thoughts and prayers.

September 11, 2005 5:28 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I love "Invictus" and you've given it an even stronger meaning.

Great post.

September 16, 2005 9:56 PM  

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