The VanBaak family woke up this morning knowing that not one, but two of their children would be undergoing surgery today. Parker, 5, and Zoey, 7, were both diagnosed with chiari malformation and are undergoing chiari decompression surgeries one right after another.
Chiari malformation is a neurological disorder where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both brain and spine.
Their surgeon, Dr. Holly Gilmer, medical director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Beaumont, believes that having both children in recovery at the same time will cause less stress on the family than scheduling the surgeries on different days.
While the family sits anxiously in the waiting area, they’ve been visited by members of the Southeastern Michigan Chiari Support Group throughout the day. Bronx, one of the support group’s therapy dogs, also spent time with the family to alleviate some stress.