Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:ON DECEMBER 24, last year, Rural Express exposed the plight of young Jadon Dixon who suffers from a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumours to be growing in his head, blocking his windpipe and an ear passage.
In the article, Jadon's frustrated but hopeful mother, Tracey-Ann Lothian, who lives in the Spanish Town area of St Catherine, appealed for help and it did come. Jadon and his mother left Jamaica on July 3 for corrective surgery at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
The almost eight-hour-long operation was performed by Dr McKay McKinnon and his team, who removed a large portion of the tumour from Jadon's skull. The tumour had eroded a small section, about the size of a ten-dollar coin, from the skull. A titanium mesh had to be screwed over the area to protect his brain until the bone grows back. Even though the tumour is benign and was on the outside of the skull, it was also thinning the rest of the bone. This would have eventually killed him, were it not removed.
A large tumour was also removed from behind his left ear. At present, there is a tumour on the right side of his neck which is compressing the main artery that carries blood to that side of his brain. Yet, he is getting enough blood to his brain. The doctor doesn't know where this blood is coming from.
still needs tracheostomy tube
However, Lothian said, "I was hoping that the tracheostomy tube that he breathes through could be removed, but due to the fact that some of the tumours are still there, it could not be removed."
Since the surgery has been done, Jadon is able to breathe without the tracheostomy tube while he is awake. However, when he is asleep it gets complicated. It was decided to leave the tube in until another surgery is done to remove the tumour behind his nose and mouth.
Jadon needs one or two more surgeries to remove a portion of the tumour behind the nose, and a small portion on his shoulder which is affecting his breathing. That portion could not be removed in the initial surgery because it would have been risky.
Yet, Lothian is happy that there is a start. "I feel much better because a large portion of the tumour was removed, especially those parts that were a threat to his life, and looking forward to him being able to live without the tube most of all," she said.
And she is eternally grateful to those who have helped so far.
"I want to thank the public for making an effort to help, every one who contributed to this cause particularly the Ministry of Health, UWI, BNS university branch, NCB university branch, Jamaica National university branch, Ameco and B-H Paint. Last, but not least, I definitely want to thank the surgeons, particularly Dr McKinnon, for their remarkable work because it is a surgery that a lot of doctors would say no to," Lothian said.
The estimated cost of the medical procedure was US$70,900; however, Lothian said she owes the hospital US$100,000 in addition to the cost of future surgeries. She is still seeking assistance from members of the public who may make a contribution to Jadon Dixon Fund, BNS UWI branch, account number 300428.