Todd's story: There's a cookie in my head

Todd's story: There's a cookie in my head

Bike rides and hockey are what seven year old boys should be concerned with.  Todd was seven years old when he had a bike accident while riding down a hill. He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with concussion. That should be the worst thing that any child has to go through.  A couple months later and Todd was waking up in the middle of the night vomiting and suffering terrible headaches. Todd missed so much school that his teacher thought Todd was afraid of her. In reality, he was at home suffering from headaches, dizziness and vomiting. A trip to the doctor lead to a CT scan, then a MRI (the second ever performed at BC Children’s Hospital), the diagnosis of a non-malignant mid-brain tumour (a tectal plate glioma), then a trip to Vancouver for surgery and insertion of a shunt. Then came the worst possible news for any seven year old boy.  The doctors told him that he had to go three whole months without playing hockey!  Todd considers himself lucky that he made it back on the team!

The doctors told Todd's parents to keep life as normal as possible, that he could live life to the same extent as the average kid. Despite their best efforts, Todd doesn't think that happened. The nausea and vomiting might have gone away, but the headaches have never been resolved, although medication is helping. The tumour found in Todd's brain is still there and still defining Todd's life to a certain degree.  

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing since the initial surgery either. Three years after the first surgery, Todd started getting more headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. A CT scan showed enlarged ventricles for which surgery was performed for a blocked shunt. Three months later, the shunt blocked again. Todd had hydrocephalus and fell into a coma. More surgery. Two years later, the shunt was replaced. Six months later, more dizziness and headaches led to two more surgeries. A shunt was removed and then quickly replaced, as during that surgery a ventriculostomy was performed, which did not work. After Todd came out of surgery he was disoriented and nauseous, as soon as he ate, he vomited, and they rushed him back to surgery where the shunt was put back in. 
 
Todd doesn’t remember the pain, but does remember that it would hurt less if he kept his head down, so he walked, talked and sat looking at the floor. A few years after that, Todd was diagnosed with a chiari malformation type I for which surgery meant decompression of the foramen magnum. Todd still feels the effects of the surgery with pain in his neck and shoulders. Finally Todd had a grand mal seizure, for which he received medication.  With all of these surgeries, Todd never failed a grade at school!
 
The repercussions continue as an adult. Todd has suffered depression. He says: “The hardest part isn’t worrying about tomorrow, it’s important to stay in today”.  
 
Todd is now married, with two young children. One of whom thinks that Daddy has a cookie in his head! Todd is looking forward to receiving a copy of the storybook 'A Friend in Hope' in the hopes that the book can help him explain that it's not a really a cookie that's in his head. ‘Til then, his young child can be found riding a bike.
 
Thank you Todd for sharing your story!

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2016


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