The Mighty Logo

8 Ways to (Kind of) Prepare for Your Child's Brain Surgery

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Wouldn’t it be nice if an actual list or blog existed to prepare you for something like brain surgery?

Over the past two years our family has fumbled our way through tuberous sclerosis complex and all the crazy curveballs it can throw. From seizures to hospital stays, to therapies and now brain surgery. I’ll be honest though… I never expected to be having to prepare for brain surgery. It wasn’t something I’d put on my radar. Was I aware that behavioral problems may arise? Yes. Was I aware that seizures could wreck havoc on our daughter? Yes. Was I knowledgeable about most anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)? Yes! I’ve advocated for our daughter, researched for our daughter and gone blue in the face fighting for resources for our daughter. But I never imagined being here, sitting on the phone hearing the words, “Our next step is brain surgery.”


It felt like we were being told of her diagnosis all over again. The words stung. I felt all the warmth in my body fall to the floor. Images of her having her brain opened up flashed in my mind along with images of her in a hospital bed, being unrecognizable to us. There’s something haunting about seeing a tiny child in a hospital bed that engulfs them. It doesn’t fit; they shouldn’t be there.


It’s been a few months since we heard those words, and we’re now nearing the surgery date. Nothing has changed as far as my fear. I still feel as if we’re blinded to what will truly happen once we walk into that hospital. My hope and focus is on my desire to not be constricted by the walls that this disease has put around my family. Hope is around the corner; I can see it and feel it on days when clouds aren’t weighing me down.

So here we are, a little over a month to go before we go down a less-than-inviting road without a map. We have no clue what to expect; we only lean on the small percentage of families who have traveled this road before us. We will lean on them until we have our own story to tell.

But if I had to make a list of how to prepare it would look like this:

1. Lean on your fellow surgery parents

2. Don’t get caught up in the what if

3. Pray… alot

4. Expect great things to happen after surgery

5. Trust in your ability to parent

6. Take a deep breath

7. Show your child love you never new possible

8. Allow yourself a good cry in the shower

For now, this is how I will prepare… if there is even such a thing.


Originally published: October 15, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home