Thursday, September 28, 2006


Someday soon I'll finally get to a synopsis of day three of my walk, but today I had to share an amazing story about a friend of ours. Yesterday at the UCLA Medical Center, our little 4-year-old friend Gibson Huston underwent brain surgery. Not just any brain surgery--Gibson had a hemispherectomy, which is a removal of one hemisphere of the brain. In Gibson's case, a portion of his left hemisphere was completely removed, and the remaining portion was completely disconnected so that it will no longer be functional. This dramatic and extensive surgery was necessary because Gibson has suffered from severe seizures since he was 3 years old, despite being on several anti-seizure medications. His seizures are caused by a very rare brain abnormality called hemimegalencephaly (H.M.E.), which more or less means that one half of his brain is much larger than the other. His H.M.E. is caused by a rare genetic disorder.

His parents, our friends Saasha and Dan (Saasha is my good friend Heather's sister), researched many options, but finally made the decision that would be best for Gibby's future well being. If the seizures were left to continue, Gibson would start to lose his cognitive abilities, since each seizure he has causes minor brain damage. While he will have some minor physical impairments after surgery, children who have a hemispherectomy early in life usually go on to lead very normal lives, since the remaining half of their brain learns and absorbs the functions of the half that was removed. The human body is so amazing and complex is absolutely astounds me!

Gibson's surgery lasted all day yesterday, and he was wheeled into the pediatric intensive care just before midnight. The surgery went just as planned and expected, but Gibson will have at least 4-5 days of recovery before he is allowed to leave the hospital. If you'd like to read more about Gibson, you can check out an article from the Lawrence Journal-World a few weeks ago, or you can go to Gibson's Caring Bridge site where you can read the details of his story and get updates from his family.

Hang in there Hustons! You're in our prayers!

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