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HOME arrow PATIENT & VISITORS arrow Patient Stories
Saul's Story

Our son, Saul, was diagnosed with an arachnoid brain cyst in October, 2004, at the age of eight months. The fluid-filled cyst caused great trauma to his brain and significant delays to his body, including physical, cognitive and speech. Saul suffered from severe headaches his entire young life prior to detection and treatment of the cyst.

 

As painful as it was to watch our infant son battle the destructive force of a brain cyst, today we recognize the hand of God in our lives and throughout Saul’s health crisis. We are especially grateful to the Spencer Hospital staff for playing an integral part in our son’s healing and restoration.

 

As an infant, Saul did not exhibit obvious, outward signs of the cyst’s existence. It was during his regular well-baby check that our family physician, Dr. Sonia Sather, decided the measurements of his head gave reason for concern. She ordered a CT scan of his head, and the films confirmed our greatest fear. A cyst, about one-third the size of his brain, was placing immense pressure on the organ. It rested below his skull, atop his brain and descended deep between the brain lobes, creating a chasm filled with brain fluid.

 

Dr. Sather speculated on the initial diagnosis and conferred with Dr. Crouch, who read the films and made the official diagnosis. Drs. Sather and Crouch counseled us, reiterating our need for immediate medical attention to alleviate the growing cyst and pressure on Saul’s brain.

We chose a pediatric neurologist in Omaha. In January, 2005, Saul underwent brain surgery, which involved placement of a shunt to drain the brain fluid.

                                           Saul 

We returned home - relieved to have his brain surgery behind us - yet overwhelmed by the delays Saul suffered, including: gross motor, speech and cognitive delays. We were placed in contact with the Child Health Specialty Clinic in Spencer Hospital, where Saul participated in a needs assessment to decide upon appropriate and necessary services he required.

 

Saul began physical, occupational and speech therapies by age one at Spencer Hospital. He received one-on-one assistance in the feeding clinic, as he had developed an aversion to eating solid foods by associating the act of chewing with headaches. He received physical therapy in Spencer Hospital’s warm water pool. Our family was also assisted by hospital staff in securing services through the local Area Education Agency (AEA).

 

Our son has received speech and physical therapy by Spencer Hospital staff in our home and at the hospital for the past three years. This summer, Saul also partook in the Reins of Hope therapeutic horse riding program, which brought him great joy.

 

Today, Saul is a delightful, energetic 5 year old who recently began his third year of preschool with his peers. His shunt remains in place and is expected to be removed when the tubing naturally breaks down. At that time, Saul must undergo a second brain surgery or “fenestration,” which involves removal of the entire cyst. We’ve been forewarned of complexity of the procedure, but know God holds Saul’s future  – so we choose not to live in fear of the unknown.


When we count our blessings, we include Spencer Hospital and staff in our prayers of thanksgiving. God has blessed us in many ways. We cannot keep it to ourselves.