Lincoln

Lincoln is a 4-year-old that is fiercely independent, funny, strong, and his smile lights up a room.

Lincoln was diagnosed with torticollis at 4 months, which means "stiff neck." His head tilted about 15 degrees to the right. His pediatrician gave his parents some exercises to do to help him get over it. It looked a little better for a period of time, but when he turned 2 his parents thought it looked like the head tilt had gotten worse. The family had just moved, and during his routine 30-month checkup. Lincoln’s mom asked his new pediatrician if she would recommend physical therapy. Instead, she sent them to get an MRI, "just to rule out any other possible causes."

Lincoln had to be sedated to stay still for the hour it would take for the complete scan. Lincolns mom says “I will never forget the nurse wheeling him back into the recovery room, pointing to a phone on the wall, and saying, “He did great! Your pediatrician is going to call you on that phone right there." and I knew at that moment the news was not going to be good.” The rest of the day was like a blur - being sent to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and checking into the hospital overnight so he could get a scan of his spine; having to arrange for someone to pick up Lincoln’s older brother up from school and keep him overnight, and hearing the word "tumor" uttered for the first time.

Lincoln's tumor is nestled between his cerebellum and his brain stem. Due to the location and his lack of 'alarming' symptoms, it was determined that the risk of a biopsy would outweigh the benefit, so his family spent the scariest 3 months of their lives waiting for a follow up MRI to see if the tumor was growing.  To their great relief, Lincoln's tumor has remained stable over the last 2 years, although they are aware that can change any time. He has periodic MRIs to monitor the tumor and has undergone physical therapy and occupational therapy to help with his motor skills. 

He loves to be active, and his parents frequently find him climbing or hanging off the furniture. His favorite phrase has always been "I do it!" so his family knows he will be ready to fight whatever may come in the future. Their hope is that one day research will develop a non-invasive way to successfully treat his tumor and they know how lucky they are that they can wait.

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