January 2011 - The beginning

It was midnight on the 19th January 2011 when I stood beside our 3yr old daughter, Victoria Grace Robinson, as she lay in the CT scanner at the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia
For the past week, Victoria had been tripping up whilst walking. After visiting a GP who advised there was nothing wrong with her, a good friend of ours, suggested that I take her to another doctor as soon as possible.

It was nearing the end of the day, so I felt it would be best to take Victoria to see another good friend of ours who is a doctor. Upon seeing Victoria he advised that I take her to the Emergency department immediately. Ken, my husband and Victoria's father was in Melbourne on business. I arranged for my friend to look after our other children, Marshall, Charlotte and Alexandra at home, whilst I took Victoria to the John Hunter Hospital.
After 3 hours of various tests in the emergency department, Victoria ended up in the CT scanner at midnight. I stood beside her, praying, “God please give us all the strength to get through this, whatever the outcome is". I could tell by the way the doctors and nurses were acting that this was not a good scenario.

When the scan was finished we returned to the Emergency Department. I sat beside Victoria, who was blissfully asleep. The neurologist told me, "There is a mass in your child’s brain".
What do you do? –Scream!!!! Oh God!!!!!!!!!!!!

The neurologist explained the scenario to my husband on the phone. I then phoned my mother in NZ and said, "Mum I need you here now". And being the wonderful mother she is, she was on the first plane out of NZ in the morning, and here in Newcastle by 4pm on Thursday 20th January.

Thursday 20th January 2011
Thursday 20th January, Victoria had an MRI scan in the afternoon. After the MRI, we sat around the nurses station reviewing the MRI results with 8 doctors. The neurosurgeon who was to perform the operation said to me, "This is a very unusual tumor, in a very unusual place".
Those weren’t exactly the words I wanted to hear! The tumor was right in the centre of Victoria’s brain, and appeared to be growing out of her brain stem. The tumor was pressing on the right side of the brain, causing left side weakness meaning reduced strength in her leg, foot, arm and hand etc on the left side.
After hearing this news, I asked a close friend to come and pray with me, as Ken was still in Melbourne. The Ronald McDonald family room has a ‘quiet room’ in which parents can have some quiet. Well, for the two weeks we were in hospital, there were a lot of prayers said in that room. It was a blessing to us.

I just sobbed and sobbed and literally cried out to God, "Please God we need a miracle, I know this little girl is your daughter, and she is on ‘loan’ to us, please give these doctors wisdom".
We will rejoice in your salvation. And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. Psalm 20:5

Surgery was scheduled for a week’s time. One doctor advised that the best scenario from the operation was that the tumor would just pop out cleanly, and the worst scenario was that they could cut open the tumor, it would bleed out and Victoria would die. Or it could be something in the middle of these two scenarios. No one could tell us what the outcome would be regarding the left side weakness. We would have to wait and see.
In that week we experienced God's grace many times. On the Wednesday night before the operation, whilst we were in hospital, Victoria started to vomit. The vomitting was an indication that the tumour was causing more problems. Vomitting was a new experience for Victoria. She found it quite fascinating, identifying all the food in the vomit, "There is the watermelon mum!"

Thursday 27th January 2011

The day of Victoria’s operation had arrived. We had been advised that it could be up to a 10 hour operation. It was likely that Victoria would be on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit for up to 24 hours afterwards. We had been given a tour of ICU. Just what everyone dreams of!!
As we waited for the operation we commandeered the small waiting room for prayer and communion. We were blessed to be surrounded by our family and so many wonderful friends from church and school who came to visit and pray with us, through what was a difficult wait. Half-way through the operation, the neurosurgeon came out and told us it was all progressing well.

After 8.5 hours a nurse came out and told us the operation was finished. Victoria was sitting up asking for mummy. No ventilation was needed. Praise God. The initial pathology advised that the tumor was most likely to be a low grade tumour. Another ‘Praise God’. It was later confirmed that the tumour was a low grade pilocytic astrocytoma.
February 2011 onwards
From this day forward Victoria, and indeed our whole family, has been a journey with many twists and turns. The operation was only the beginning.
Throughout this time though, we have never felt alone. Our faithful and ever-present God has provided for us all in every way possible. We have received amazing support from family, friends, neighbours, our church and school communities. Our eyes have been opened to a whole new world of hospitals and organisations that support children with cancer and their families.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night. Psalm 92:1-2

Tumour information

For those who are interested, and it can make for some scary reading, I came across this very good description of the tumour that is in Victoria's brain. It is in the glioma category, and is a Grade 1 pilocytic astrocytoma, located in her brain stem. This information is from the Advanced Psychological website in the USA. Note, when we speak about the tumour, we say "the tumour in Victoria's brain", rather than Victoria's tumour, as we do not believe that the tumour belongs to Victoria. It has absolutely no right to be in her brain, in Jesus Name.
The cancer.net website provides a good description of the treatment options for this type of tumour.
If you do foray into these websites, please keep in mind, that whilst they describe the situation and options, they of course don't take into account God's sovereignty and His healing power. It is God who we chose to put our faith in.

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