Canadian sportscaster Ian Mendes, 31, and his wife Sonia were forced to make the decision no new parent wants to make when — four years ago — they were told that their then 1-week-old daughter Elissa needed surgery to treat a cyst on her brain. The couple first learned of the complication during a routine ultrasound at 28-weeks, but once Elissa was born they discovered that the cyst was twice as large as had been previously thought. The results of an MRI "looked like half of Elissa’s brain was missing," Ian recalled, "[It was] a big black hole."
The couple opted for the surgery, which involved placing a shunt in Elissa’s brain which — over time — deflated the cyst. Although the surgery needed to be repeated several months later following a shunt malfunction, Elissa’s progress has been nothing short of extraordinary. "Elissa was one of the most severe cases of this type of cyst that the neurologist had seen," Sonia said, "but [she] has also had one of the best outcomes." Added Ian,
Now Elissa swims, has gym class, and is starting junior kindergarten in the fall. She’s a typical four-year-old, full of energy.
In addition to Elissa, Ian and Sonia are parents to Liliana, 9-months.
Source: Ottawa Citizen