arachnoid cyst part 2 — making the decision

I managed to grab the text from google’s cached results, so I’m re-posting the entries on arachnoid cyst here.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


so we are now aware that there is a 17cm cyst in sen sen’s head.

the MRI image shows a large white mass (brain fluid) on the right of his skull and while normal brains appear somewhat symmetrical, his looks kinda scary as the centre line of the brain is shifted to the left and his right brain is so squashed that some parts look like tiny strips of bacon :S

apparently, this is a chronic problem. the cyst must have grown at a rather slow rate over the last three years as sen does not seem to be displaying any symptoms at all. i.e. he does not seem to be in pain, he does not have seizures, his motor skills are fine, and his learning abilities and speech development are normal. most importantly, although his right brain seems to be badly affected, it does not seem to affect him at all. since he is so young, his body probably compensated by utilizing other parts of the brain for learning the basic skills :’D

in fact, if the same condition happened in an older child or an adult, the person would be paralysed or lose some functions associated with the affected areas in the brain.

i was actually damned impressed by the fact that he was totally unaffected by the abnormally large cyst in his brain. so  i told myself “wow, he is considered quite smart (by the school teachers) even with the right brain squashed into a strip, i think if his brain were to develop normally he’d definitely be a genius!

i am really thankful for the miracle. i am thankful that his quality of life is not affected by the cyst. i am thankful that his development is not affected by the cyst. i am thankful that he is not suffering from severe headaches. i am thankful that despite having his optic nerve stretched by the cyst, his vision is as perfect as can be. most importantly, i am thankful that he is safe and well.

but this adds to our dilemma.

if everything is in harmony, what is going to happen when we operate on him and disturb the perfect balance in his head? how will his brain react to the shrinking cyst?

if the cyst was causing him pain and seizures, or affecting his eyesight, physical movement, or intellectual development, then it would be a no-brainer. i.e. we should definitely opt for treatment.

but no, this boy is living a normal life despite this condition and who knows what we’re messing with by operating on him? even the surgeon could not give us a definite answer.

so we were given about three weeks to make a decision.

it was indeed difficult.

some people believed that children should not be operated on. they advised us to try alternative treatments or go for miracle prayer sessions.

others believed that the condition should be treated while the child is still young, because taking time off from school when he is older would be disruptive to his studies. i’m sure you can tell that this advice came from a kiasu singaporean parent :p

leaving the cyst alone was akin to leaving a time-bomb in my child’s head. i am constantly worried that it might explode. i even have nightmares about it. NOT FUN.

on the other hand, if we start to treat him, his right brain will grow back to occupy the cavity vacated by the cyst, and i can verify my hypothesis of him being a genius if his brain is fully-developed :’D

so we decided to let him go for operation lor..

One comment on “arachnoid cyst part 2 — making the decision

  1. Debbie Cramer on said:

    Wow. That was big. I am so pleased for you that he is ok. No symptoms! I am exploring more of your blog to find out what brought the cyst to your attention in the first place. Ours is smaller right now (baby still in utero) but also hoping we are one of the lucky ones and your blog brings great hope. We hopefully get the MRI report on Monday to hear if the rest of brain is ok and they will treat or not treat xx