Why Brady Needed Surgery

When he was about 10, Brady complained of what can best be described as tremors.  His hands would…twitch a little.  It was uncontrollable, almost subliminal, and he could even suppress it if he tried.  We reported it to his pediatrician.  After some questions and answers, her advice was that as long as the tremors didn’t get worse in terms of intensity or frequency, we probably didn’t need to worry about them.

Last year, they got worse.  They were now coming about a dozen times a day, were much more intense/severe, and involved his entire upper body, not just his hands (they still lasted less than a second).  Brady reported to Student Health Services on campus and they ordered an MRI.  The MRI detected a mass in Brady’s left frontal lobe.  He was referred to a neurosurgeon in Burlington, VT.  We went to see him (Dr. Tranmer) and he told us that the mass could not, because of its location, be the cause of Brady’s tremors.  However, it did need to be dealt with.
[Tangent: Brady subsequently saw a neurologist who diagnosed the tremors as being a symptom of Tourette’s Syndrome.]
Dr. Tranmer was very sure the tumor was benign, and we planned for it’s removal this Summer.  In May, a follow-up, more precise MRI was done, and the mass was identical to last year’s MRI.  Instead of just charging ahead with removal, Dr. Tranmer counseled a biopsy to determine the makeup of the tissue in question.  There was a possibility that it was merely suspicious-looking normal brain tissue (which obviously should not be removed!).  The biopsy was done in June and came back as a low-grade, benign oligodendroglioma.
Surgery was scheduled, and the tumor was successfully removed on July 29th, 2013.  In a way, it’s a happy accident this tumor was discovered.  Left undiscovered, it would have one day likely manifested itself in the form of nasty symptoms such as personality changes, seizures, or worse–in other words, possibly too late.