Stories about: department of neurosurgery

Lauren’s goal: Soccer star beats odds and gets back to the field

neck-tumor“I remember the phone call after Lauren’s fall,” says Dr. Jordan Busch. “My wife said, ‘Lauren fell, and her vertebra is broken, but that’s not the bad news.’” A tumor had eaten away at one of the bones in Lauren’s neck and was lodged in their daughter’s cervical spine.

“I can still see the slow-motion tape in my head,” recalls Dr. Nancy Corliss, Lauren’s mother. “It looked like a routine soccer trip, and I did the three-second count every mother does.”

Nancy started running when she got to three. Lauren, then 12, and a star forward for a JBSC U12 team, was strapped onto a backboard and rushed to Morton Hospital in Taunton, Massachusetts.

This type of tumor is one in 250,000. To find any surgeon with the right experience and expertise is one thing, and to find a pair who had more experience than anyone else was incredibly fortunate. ~ Dr. Jordan Busch

After Lauren’s CT scan showed a tumor in her spine, her emergency physician told Jordan and Nancy, “Boston Children’s Hospital is the best place for your daughter.”

Lauren endured a second painful ambulance ride to Boston Children’s and then an MRI scan, which confirmed the tumor.

As her parents and doctors conferred, Lauren formed her goal — returning to the soccer field. She told her mother she needed a replacement for her lucky #28 soccer jersey. (Her jersey had to be cut off after the injury.)

Though Nancy gently explained the jersey wasn’t the top concern, Lauren remained adamant. After Nancy texted Lauren’s coach James Bede with an update on her condition, he had a new jersey made and delivered it to Lauren.

“I knew he believed in me,” says Lauren.

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Abigail’s journey: A trip to Boston makes tomorrow possible

20151012_AbigailsStory-35 (2)From the time Erika Jones was 30 weeks pregnant, she and her husband Stephen prepared for an excruciating eventuality. The Jacksonville, Florida, couple was told their daughter would die before or shortly after her birth. They arranged for pediatric hospice before Abigail was born. They made a decision tree factoring in clinical scenarios from intubation to a do-not-resuscitate order. They planned to scatter Abigail’s ashes on a Florida beach.

“We didn’t plan for this scenario,” says Erika, quietly glowing and cooing at the healthy newborn in her arms.

When Erika was pregnant, an ultrasound detected a large mass — thought to be a highly malignant brain tumor — in the left hemisphere of Abigail’s brain. Erika was referred for a fetal MRI, which led specialists to diagnose Abigail with a fatal brain tumor.

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