Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Boys, Balls, and Brain Tumors

Editor's Note: Today we bring you a touching piece from Debbie Valley. Follower her on Twitter on @debval2008 and say a prayer for her on her family. 

My son is currently in an OR having his brain tumor removed.  And it’s not an ordinary brain tumor, because my child does not know the concept of ordinary.  When an anesthesiologist walks in and tells you how your son’s case has been the topic of many conversations at the hospital for the past few years, you know your child has accomplished something extraordinary.  He’s very proud, I’m slightly proud and mostly horrified.  Our brain tumor journey started a little over three years ago when a routine sports physical turned into a ‘Your child might have MS’ conversation.  Into the MRI machine he went and the results were shocking.  Thanks be to God he does not have MS but what they found astounded our neurologist and our friend that is a radiologist.  
As I’ve reflected on this journey over the past few days I see God’s hand preparing him for this day.  I can tell you that I didn’t always view it that way, but as my husband and I wait for the completion of his 10 hour surgery, I can see how God has spent that last 9 months creating an amazing support system for my son.  
Last September, our 17 year old competitive tennis player announced he wanted to change clubs and take his lessons at a club 50 minutes from our house.  I asked him why and he said because some of the kids that played there approached him at a tournament and invited him.  For a relatively shy kid, this was huge!  Due to him having his driver’s license (I love him but I’m not making that drive 3-4 times a week), my husband and I agreed to the change.  A month later we were told his tumor grew by 50% and had to be removed.  He continued to play tennis while the surgeon, oncologist (that where you go when you have tumor), and radiologist debated the best course of treatment.  
Tennis is his love and his escape.  It’s where he goes to be a ‘normal’ kid and the tennis kids made him feel that way.  They not only played together but also slept at each other’s houses, went to dinner, movies and sometimes just hung out at local parks.  Texting, Instagramming, Tweeting, Snapchatting, and any other social media/communication system out there is fully embraced by them.  Occasionally they would face each other on the tennis court during the high school season.  They tried to kill each other but always walked off the court with a hug and a smile.  Those same kids kept him out until 2:00 this morning at a bonfire. Many of them wanted to come and sit with my husband and me at the hospital today.  I thought he was changing clubs to become a better tennis player, God had other motives for the move (I think this qualifies as a both/and situation).  
The doctor estimates that we will be at the hospital for a week.  His friends are planning an Xbox tournament when he gets out of the ICU.  They’re hoping he will still be heavily medicate just for some good laughs.  As he faces a long recovery, because two months of no tennis is equal to eternity, God has placed these amazing kids, at this specific moment of his challenging life, to help him as he walks this path.  I’m so thankful that we said yes to such a crazy request last fall.  I am also grateful to a group of parents who have raised some amazing teens to support my son.  

If you have a moment to offer a prayer for Brandon and the doctors and nurses that are caring for him I would be forever grateful. 


  1. Praying for you and your family -- God is so good, that He provided the emotional support your son needs through his friends. We pray that you feel God's love and support for you in a special way too, Mom.

  2. Thank you so much for all the prayers. It's been a rough ride this week. The surgery was a huge success.