Fargo middle school student recovering from brain surgery

Published: Apr. 27, 2017 at 7:48 AM CDT
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A Fargo middle school student is recovering from brain surgery after years of unanswered medical questions led his parents to a new hospital.

Griffin Walker's mom says she followed her gut instinct. It was telling her there was something doctors weren't seeing. And, that mother's intuition was proven true when the Walker family made an appointment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

No one ever said middle school was easy. While it's not rocket science... it does include brain surgery for Griffin Walker.

The middle school student says the thought of surgery didn't scare him. Nor does the 7 inch scar on his head. Griffin says he hardly notices it. His only focus after surgery was going back to school and he did it less than a week after brain surgery.

Roxann Walker admits nothing has been normal for her 14 year old. For more than half of his life, he has suffered from unexplained seizures and medications put her son in a fog. Countless doctors and specialists could not figure out what was wrong... until Mayo. Within 30 minutes -- they said brain surgery was needed.

Roxann Walker says it made for an unusual conversation with her son. She says, "No one gives you a parents manual on how to talk to your kid about brain surgery."

She says when she asked Griffin about his thoughts on surgery, he asked if they could do the surgery the next day.

Mayo Clinic pediatric neurosurgeon Nick Wetjen admits surgery can be a scary thought for some families. But, he says by the time families come to him they are tired of the fight and frustrated by the lack of results from past medications.

Dr. Wetjen believes a birth defect is the root of the problem. In simplified terms, Griffin has a hole in his skull where he shouldn't. And, his brain is pushing out of it and likely causing the seizures.

Roxann says she noticed a difference right away after surgery. She says, "this kid that we thought we had lost... is back. He is back and I couldn't be more grateful."

Roxann feels like the fog has been lifted. Griffin says he feels good, but his goal is to live a normal teenage life. He wants to be able to drive and that is something he can't do unless the seizures completely stop.

Griffin added, "I just want to live my life... a full life."

Griffin's recovery has been spurred by the support of his family and fellow students who rallied around him. They formed "Team Griffin" and it clearly helped this 8th grader with his toughest assignment yet.

Doctors at Mayo say it will take one full year of monitoring and adjusting medications before they call the surgery a true success, but they are happy with his progress, so far.

Make-a-Wish is hoping to help Griffin feel better too! The organization has granted Griffin a wish due to his condition. He was just told Wednesday night, so he hasn't decided just yet what his "wish" will be.