Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today we met with Dr. Pearson, the neuro-surgeon. Dr. Pearson went through the MRI scans with us and explained the diagnosis that he was giving Caleb. Officially he has a condition called optic chiasm glioma. This is a condition where he has a tumor in the optic chiasm (the space behind the optic nerves). The tumor also extends into the optic nerves and thus it is impossible to remove without damaging Caleb's vision permanently.

The good news is this. The Dr. says that his condition is not life threatening as he believes the tumor to be benign, from its location and characteristics (though he can't be for sure). He also states that because we have no visible symptoms of this tumor, he wants to simply observe the tumor for an indefinite amount of time to see if it changes or grows. There are methods to treat a tumor without surgery, though none of them are good to talk about really without knowing that they are necessary.

He also gave us some comfort in this... there are a fair number of these reported tumors that do nothing.. they stay stagnant in size and as a result do no lasting damage.

He wants us to see two specialist in the next two weeks... a pediatric Ophthalmologist and a pediatric oncologist. We will see both of these guys by the end of the month. The goal with these doctors is to rule out any other potentially related conditions.

One of the potentially related conditions is known as neurofibromatosis. Often you find these tumors (glioma) a symptom of neurofibromatosis... though in our case none of the other symptoms are present, and we didn't sense a huge degree of concern from him on this issue. However, this is something that the other specialist will help us hopefully eliminate.

That brings you up to speed on the physical issues we are facing... for the emotional and spiritual health I can say that we feel a great deal of relief from speaking to Dr. Pearson. Knowing that most likely the condition is not life-threatening was a big answer to prayer for us. I do not intend to convey that we think the road ahead is easy, but we certainly were pleased to hear this. We have felt a great deal of peace in this process... though honestly it has been an up and down battle for us.

We would like for you to pray specifically for a few things...
  • Caleb will have another MRI in a month. We are looking to that MRI to help us determine if the tumor is growing. We of course want good news from this next MRI. We would love to see it go away and believe that God can do this. Pray that the growth would cease (if it is growing) and that it would do no damage to his vision.
  • Pray for the doctors that are evaluating Caleb. Their names are Dr. Pearson, Dr. Donahue and Dr. Kuttesch. These guys have all worked together before and this is for sure good to know. Their experience is great and we are confident in their abilities, but we would ask you to pray for their wisdom as they look over our son and make choices that could have lasting impact on his life.
  • Pray for Nicole and me, that we would set our minds on things above and not let our minds wander, but that we would focus only on what we know and be thankful for the victories we have already gotten.

Thank you all so very much for your kind words and thoughts during the past week or so. You are all blessings in our life.

Austin & Nicole Henderson

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Grace Displayed...

Nicole and I were talking this morning about the current situation with Caleb and how we have felt the graciousness of God through so many people. Nothing has changed in our circumstances, but I am confident in saying that we are comforted by the thought of knowing that so many people have personally stated that they are being intentional to pray for our family and the doctors that are handling these things for us.

There is no greater feeling than this really. We know that literally people all over the world are praying to the creator of all that is on behalf of our son. There is little that we as parents can do physically to help or "fix" this situation, but we are comforted by knowing that there is One who is able to correct this with a single breath..

We have taken great comfort from the Word in this...

33:6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

20:7 Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

We recognize that the Lord is the one who is able to accomplish this feat, we place our trust and confidence in Him. We continue to entreet you to put this before Him.

Thank you for your continued support.

Monday, January 15, 2007


We got news from our Pediatrician just a few moments ago that we are not going to be able to get in with the specialist today. This of course was not comforting news as we were really looking forward to getting some more solid input about Caleb and his condition. We are scheduled to meet with the specialist on Wednesday at 08:30. Please keep praying for our spirits and for Caleb's healing.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement during this time.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Caleb Update...

Well it has been a while since I posted to this... as can be evidenced by the date of the previous post. I posted a few new photos here for those that are interested in seeing some more recent shots. I wish to let you all know what is happening in our family as of the last 48 hours.

A few days ago Caleb went for his routine checkup (he is almost 10 mo now). The Dr. was a bit concerned with the growth rate of his head. She assured us that most likely there was little to be worried about but that as a precautionary measure she wanted him to have a CT scan. The CT scan took place on Thursday (1.11.07) and Caleb did wonderfully. We were most impressed by his bravery and cooperation. We prayed that he would not need to be sedated and God delivered on that prayer.... much to our pleasure.

On Friday the Dr. called us back and indicated that they thought they saw a slight swelling on his "optic nerve" and to be sure they wanted him to have an MRI that day (Friday). We took him in for the procedure and of course he had to be sedated for the almost 45 minute process, and while we were nervous we were confident he was in able hands and protected.

He made it through the MRI and was up and about in no time... we even had dinner out that night, which he really enjoyed. We were very grateful for the family that surrounded us during this time.

This morning we got a phone call from our Dr. to come to her office to review the findings of the test. Practically speaking we were well aware that this was not a welcomed development. We went to her office where we were told that Caleb has a small mass in his brain near his pituitary gland. They told us that in some ways this find was a "blessing from God" because the mass has nothing to do with his head size... turns out he just has a big head. Apparently there will be no signs of this mass because of its small size... On a positive note they also told us that because of the location there is a very good chance the mass is benign.

Apparently there are quite a few "types" of tumors in this area of the brain and each one can have various impacts on the gland. The problem that we understand is that there is no way to know what kind it is without a biopsy, which will be hard to get. We were also told there is a small chance that the mass is left from his development and is nothing, though this possibility is much less likely.

We were told that our next step would be to see a pediatric Neurological surgeon at Vanderbilt Children's hospital on Monday.. hopefully. There is a chance he won't be able to see us on Monday, but we are hopeful.

So that brings you up to speed with the events of the past 48 hours. If you would like to know how you can help us I have only one request and that is for you to pray for our son, the doctors that will attend to him and for Nicole and me. We know that only God has control over this situation and that He is loving and compassionate. We entreat you to go before him on behalf of our family and ask for His mercy and grace.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We will update you as information becomes available.