Anna Jo Wilkinson was born on September 11, 2004. She weighed 7lbs. 10ozs. and was 19 1/2 inches long.
There were no complications during pregnancy. When Anna was 3 days old she had a well baby check-up with Dr. Kinnane (Pediatrician) who detected a “louder than normal” heart murmur. Dr. Kinnane ordered a chest xray in the office to see what was going on.
After reviewing the chest xray, Dr. Kinnane very calmly instructed us to check in to the hospital because the cardiologist could see Anna on her evening rounds. That night Dr. Battiste (Pediatric Cardiologist) looked for a long time and could not find anything wrong with Anna’s heart. She said that she had seen this happen one other time and it had to do with an arterial-venous malformation in the brain. The MRI was scheduled for the following morning.
Dr. Battiste was right, Anna was quickly transferred to PICU at Wesley Medical Center after the brain MRI showed a Vein of Galen Malformation, which also explained the enlargement of her heart. The team at Wesley advised us to pack our bags with enough personal items for several weeks while they finalized treatment options for Anna. Within hours we had packed our bags and were scheduled for transport. We flew via Eagle Med to Phoenix, Arizona where Dr. McDougall from Barrows Neurological Institute treated Anna via embolization (glue and titanium coils to block the rapid blood flow through the aneurysm) and angiogram. Anna had her first embolization at 6 days old and a total of 3 embolization surgeries which resulted in approximately 16 feeders being glued/coiled. We spent 28 days in the hospital. We went to Phoenix again when Anna was 1 year old and Dr. McDougall completed several more embolizations to decrease the blood flow to a very minimal level.
In January of 2007 when Anna was 2 1/2 years old she began having partial compex seizures. MRI and CT scans in January and February of 2007 showed no change or additional abnormality to her brain. On Anna’s 3rd birthday (9/11/07) she had a seizure that was approximately 45 minutes long, so we asked the Neurologist (Dr. Shah) to repeat the MRI just to give us comfort. This time the MRI showed a brain tumor (medulloblastoma) had grown in her cerebellum. On September 13, 2007 Dr. Dickerson fully resected the brain tumor via Craniotomy at Wesley Medical Center.
Anna then started her journey of Medulloblastoma treatment with Dr. Rosen. She completed 6 weeks of Monday-Friday radiation with full sedation and almost 1 year of intense chemotherapy.
As of September 2011 Anna is 7 years old, has had no cancer regrowth and she has had no additional complications with her Vein of Galen Malformation.