Canadian sportscaster "so grateful" for healthy daughter

07/10/2008 at 05:00 AM ET

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


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suze on

My son had the same type of cyst when he was in utero….we were told that in the vast majority of cases the cysts dissapears on it’s own, and luckily for us, it did. It was certainly a long and difficult wait between our 18 week ultrasound (when the cyst was detected) to the ultrasound at 30 weeks when they discovered that his had gone away by itself….I can truly sympathize with this family. Glad everything worked out!!

Trish on

I am sitting here in shock! My 6 yr old daughter has the same exact thing. We found out at 32 weeks pregnant. When she was just born they did an MRI and saw that the cyst was soo much bigger than they originally thought. She had surgery at 5 months…but the cyst filled back up again. She is currently living with it. Her left side of her brain is pushed up into the right side of her head. Her brainstem is out of place. We have been warned that she could die from this because of her brainstem. Its a very scary thing to live with. Thank God she is doing well. In fact…she is going into the gifted program at school and is a cheerleader. I know how scary this is a family. I wish them the best of luck.