Newborn baby undergoes surgery to remove brain tumor
- EFN Staff | September 21, 2018
After a mother had given birth to a beautiful little girl, she found out gut-wrenching news that every parent is afraid to hear. Janna Pratt from the George Gordon First Nation was thinking everything was fine after she gave birth to Jream at Regina General Hospital on August 18th. They were discharged for a couple days but returned to retrieve the test results from an ultrasound and it wasn’t the news she had hoped for.
“You can clearly see that there was something in her head,” said Pratt. “It took up half the size of her head in the ultrasound. knew that something was wrong.”
Jream was diagnosed with an immature teratoma, which is a tumour that grows in the brain.
“I was shock and in denial,” she said. “I just went numb and all I could do was cherish her. There’s nothing else you can do but love this child and pray for her and hope for the best.”
At just 10 days old, Jream went under a 7-hour major surgery to remove 95% of the tumour at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital.
“It was really scary. How do you give your baby to a surgeon knowing she was going for surgery? That was the hardest thing ever was handing her over,” she said. “It’s everything that you can imagine that you don’t want to imagine for your baby.”
Although most of the tumour was removed, doctors told Pratt there’s a high reoccurrence that it will grow back again. During surgery, the surgeons removed a portion of Jream’s brain that controls the lower part of her body but the month-old baby defeating the odds by being able to move and kick her tiny legs.
“She is resilient. It’s going to take her some time to relearn,” said Pratt. “The only thing that’s keeping me going is fighting it.”
Pratt is a single mother and has an 11-year-old son. Although she is raising her two children alone, she had learned how to be a strong Indigenous warrior woman at a young age after she attended residential school, became a judo fighter, and now Pratt is helping her daughter Jream to beat cancer.
“I don’t wish this on anybody. I got this! I have a good support system,” said Pratt. “This little girl through all of that and still enjoys being a baby. She has so much strength and she has brought people together.”
Every couple of months, the doctors will continue monitoring Jream’s recovery through MRI’s and treating her with chemotherapy.
The provincial government recently proclaimed September as Childhood and Youth Cancer Awareness month. On September 11th, the Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit spoke at a flag-raising ceremony on his experience as a parent of a child who had cancer.
“As the parent of a child lost to cancer, along with my own recent, personal experience fighting the disease, I know what the effects of this illness can be, not only on the patient, but also on family, friends, and loved ones,” Ottenbreit said in a media release. “Recognizing September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is an important step in improving the quality of care for patients, and ultimately, finding a cure.”
Parents such as Pratt and Ottenbreit are amongst many others in this province who continue to spread awareness and recognition of the impact that cancer has on the lives of children, youth and families across Saskatchewan.