Born February 20th, 2002
Our son, Cameron Richard Bark, was born via unplanned C-Section on February 20th, 2002 after a very long and difficult pregnancy (constant early labor, bedrest, high risk status, long term hospital stays, breech position). When he was born, he was hypoglycemic and very lethargic. The Doctors decided to put him in Intensive Care for closer observation. While in the NICU, the doctors noticed Cameron’s larger head size and extensive fluid retention about the head and face. After completing an ultrasound and MRI, the VGM was discovered. Cameron was 3 days old. He was discharged from the NICU after one week and we immediately began the process of seeing many Doctors and doing research. That was when we discovered this wonderful website and made our first contact with Lynn Mussard, to whom we will forever be grateful for starting us on our path. At her suggestion, we contacted the Toronto Brain Vascular Malformation Study Group and they, in turn, suggested we contact Dr. Alejandro (Alex) Berenstein at Beth Israel in New York City. After meeting with Dr. Berenstein and having a few MRIs, the doctors decided that we would wait until Cameron was six months of age before having his first surgery. (Grow him so he would be stronger and healthier). However, there was a change in his VGM between appointments and Dr. Berenstein decided to immediately schedule the surgery. On July 8th, 2002 at 4 1/2 months old, Cameron had his first and only embolization, closing off 3 major feeder veins. We have had 2 (yearly) follow-up visits so far, each with MRIs. Cameron’s VGM seems to have been completely closed off and Dr. Berenstein expects the veins to shrink back to “normal” size. Cameron might actually even start growing into to his head which at 2 years old is just as big as his 11 year old brother’s. We hope anyways! J
Having read so many stories and doing extensive research, we see just how VERY lucky we were and we thank God for that every single day. Cameron’s VGM didn’t seem to be very complex and his body was able to handle the strains of the VGM while we waited for that first embolization. His heart was strong enough to keep up the blood flow to his brain and he was only slightly hydrocephalic. At this point in time, it doesn’t appear we will ever need another surgery. We will forever be indebted to Dr. Alejandro Berenstein and his incredible team at Beth Isreal Hospital!!! I can not speak highly enough about this amazing man and his team of Doctors.
Although I worry, as do many families, that we may find ourselves once again battling this beast at some point down the road, we spend every minute with Cameron in awe of him and the “miracle” that God gave us. We say a prayer every night for all of our “extended families” here on this site, and for those that have not yet “found us” and a thank you to all the little VGM Angels that have watched over us and protected us. Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement and constant support. You’ve helped us through difficult times. God Bless you all.
Richard and Kerrie Bark, Cameron & big brother Nicholas