Your Son Has a Brain Tumor
July 1990

“Your Son Has a Brain Tumor,” Ensign, July 1990, 61

“Your Son Has a Brain Tumor”

One Sunday morning during church, our seven-year-old son, Joey, became ill. My wife, Anne-Marie Boutross, and I left early with him. On the way home Joey had a seizure. Barely breathing, he turned white and then went limp.

We raced to a hospital emergency room in St. Petersburg, Florida. After an examination, the doctor told us, “Your son has a brain tumor the size of a golf ball.” My first thought was to give Joey a blessing, and I called one of my priesthood brothers for assistance.

I knew what I wanted to say in the blessing, but I asked Brother Jonathan Harman to be the voice because I wanted the will of Father in Heaven to be done. In the blessing, Brother Harman said that it was a trial, but he told Joey, “You will be well.”

Joey was transported to the intensive care ward at a children’s hospital. Within the hour, a surgeon told us Joey had a very deep neuroblastoma tumor. He also told us that if Joey made it through the operation, he would be at least 50 percent paralyzed, since the doctors would be operating in the motor reflex area of his brain. Brain scans performed on Monday confirmed the doctor’s diagnosis.

On Tuesday, Joey was transported to the hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where pediatric neurosurgery is taught. That morning Joey lost the use of his right arm, and later that evening, the use of his right leg. That night, his physician requested that I meet with him. “If Joey makes it through the operation,” he told me, “he’ll have two years at the most to live.”

Wednesday morning, Brother and Sister Harman arrived at the hospital to stay with us through the lengthy operation. The entire stake was fasting for us.

As the operation began, an angiogram pinpointed the exact location of Joey’s tumor. “It’s pretty bad,” we were told. “It’s deeply rooted in the brain.” Two hours into the operation, the doctor called us again. “You had better prepare for the worst,” he said.

Brother Harman, disconsolate, told his wife, “I was impressed by the Spirit to say what I said.” Sister Harman relayed his words to Anne-Marie and added, “He feels bad that he gave you hope that Joey would be all right. But he truly felt inspired to say, ‘You will be well.’”

Almost another two hours passed before the doctor called again. “I don’t know how to tell you this—Joey is in the recovery room moving all of his limbs. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. When I went back, the tumor was completely defined and sitting on top of his brain. It’s as if someone put his hand into Joey’s brain and lifted the tumor out. Your boy is going to be well.”

Later when the doctor met with us, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “The tumor just lifted right out. I can’t explain what happened, but Joey is looking at a cure.”

One week later Joey was out of the hospital, and within two weeks he was back in school.

Seven months later, Joey was reexamined. The surgeon reported, “This brain scan is as perfect as that of any normal child.” Other reports indicated that the tumor had not been cancerous, and there was no sign of recurrent problems or even any scar tissue.

We had experienced a miracle.

  • Louis Principe lives in the Seminole Ward, St. Petersburg Florida Stake, and serves on the high council. Jonathan Harman is currently serving as bishop of the same ward.

Illustrated by Paul Mann