Merrick, 4, Brain Tumor

Mom’s Little Jokester

After 2-year old Merrick had a seizure, his mother’s intuition told her that he had a brain tumor-and he did.

(2006) – When Merrick Medrano enters a room, you’ll know it.

Mom, Carla, describes her son as a “live wire”—full of energy, spunk and not the least bit shy. Born on April Fool’s Day, Merrick is lovingly referred to as the family’s “little jokester.”

“He’s your average boy,” said Carla.  “He gets into everything and is always running around playing some kind of game,” she said.

But Merrick’s life has been anything but average.  When he was 2-years-old, Merrick suffered a sudden seizure.

“He was a normal, healthy boy all of his life.  Then the seizure occurred, and my mother’s intuition told me it wasn’t good—I actually thought that it might be a brain tumor, and that’s what it turned out to be,” she said.

Because Merrick was unresponsive post-seizure, he was rushed to the emergency room at Texas Children’s Hospital; there, a collaborative team of neurosurgeons, oncologists and other specialists determined within hours that Merrick had a rare type of malignant tumor in the frontal lobe of his brain.

“I wondered why it took an entire team of doctors to discover that my son had a tumor in the middle of his brain, but then I realized how fortunate we were to have all of these experts working so hard on my son’s case,” she said.

Five days after his first seizure, while the Medrano family was still trying to deal with the devastating diagnosis, Merrick had the first of five brain surgeries to remove the tumor.

Then he immediately began starting treatment at Texas Children’s Cancer Center.  There was only a 35 percent chance that Merrick would live five years past this type of cancer, according to Carla.

“But I was absolutely confident that if anyone could save Merrick, it was the doctors at Texas Children’s,” she said.  “Three hours after brain surgery, Merrick was propped up in his ICU bed, eating a popsicle and watching a video—the nurses said they had never seen any child do that before.”

Merrick continued to defy the odds throughout his subsequent treatment, and now he’s a happy, healthy 4-year-old who barely remembers anything about being in the hospital and undergoing brain surgery.

But Texas Children’s has certainly made an indelible impression on the Medrano family.

“I can’t say enough about Texas Children’s, I mean, they saved my son’s life and words can’t ever express how grateful we are to have this little boy in our lives,” Carla said.