Give Kids A Miracle: Going Above and Beyond

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When Northwest Arkansas mom Jennifer Pense gave birth to twin boys Asher and Ender, she said they were happy and healthy, but just 16 months later, Ender’s personality and health both changed. 
 
Thinking back to that time, Jennifer and her husband Joshua describe Ender as being lethargic and unresponsive.
 
The Pense’s rushed Ender to see his doctor who said he had contracted a virus. “He just got what we thought was a stomach bug and he tested positive for strep,” said Jennifer.
 
The 16-month-old was constantly getting sick and not eating, and within days lost 4 pounds. Jennifer demanded Ender be re-examined by his doctor. “They did some general gastro tests, couldn’t find anything wrong,” Jennifer recalled.
 
This is when doctors decided Ender needed to be sent to Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock.
 
“I was standing there with my dad watching them take off in the helicopter. It was a pretty landmark moment in my life. I’ve never had to say goodbye to something so priceless,” Joshua remembered. Joshua stayed back to make arrangements for their son Asher before he met Jennifer and Ender in Little Rock.
 
Even before they landed at Arkansas Children’s, Jennifer said the level of care her son was provided was above and beyond. “The helicopter ride was a blessing in disguise because the local hospital didn’t notice one of his major symptoms.”
 
When they arrived at the children’s hospital, Jennifer said they met with several doctors. It was the head if the Gastroenterology Department who told her Ender needed to get an MRI.
 
Jennifer said It was the MRI that revealed to her family why Ender had so suddenly gotten sick. “The doctor came to tell us that our son had a brain tumor,” she continued, “medically there was a cyst on the brain tumor that was causing his symptoms, which was brain fluid.”
 
The MRI also revealed Ender had had a stroke. “We didn’t know what kind of damage that was going to cost. It was just, we need to act now,” remembered Jennifer.
 
Ender was then taken into surgery to put a drain pipe in to drain the fluid around his brain.

“I remember right before they took him I was like just take care of my boy and he was like “I got it” and that was pretty powerful,” Joshua said.

“They did the drain and when we talked to the surgeon afterward he was like “now I don’t know what happened, but when I went and looked after I got the biopsy, I didn’t see the tumor anymore,” Jennifer said with a smile.
 
After his surgery, Ender had another MRI which showed his stroke completely resolved itself with no damage, but as Jennifer remembers, that wasn’t the only good news the second MRI revealed. “The surgeon looked at us and said, kind of almost giddy, “the tumor is floating in the fluid in the back, I can go get it.”
 
The very next day Ender had a craniotomy and his tumor was completely removed.”It just happened so fast. We’re just like okay, he’s okay. My child had a brain tumor. Wait, what?” mentioned Jennifer.
 
Throughout their time at Arkansas Children’s, the Pense family said it was the staff, namely the nurses, who provided the highest and most compassionate level of care for their son, Ender. “Because Children’s was there for us, he got the best care that was possible for this situation and that is why we have the best result,” Jennifer said.
 
Now with Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale, the Pense’s say they get the same care that they appreciated so much in Little Rock, just a lot closer to home. 
 
“No matter what this is where we’re bringing the boys if we have a need. We’ve worn that out, we’ve definitely had the opportunity to test it.”
 

 

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