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Three Brain Tumors Were No Match for God

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Noah Richardson begins his wife’s story the day their lives changed, “Kaitlin actually went in first and when she came out, she just looked kind of scared.”

It was blurry vision that prompted 28-year-old Kaitlin Richardson to go in for a routine eye exam in November 2019. Upon examination though, her optometrist found something concerning - inflammation of the optic nerve.

The eye doctor recommended that Kaitlin should get an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to see exactly what was going on,” says Noah.

“I was super nervous. I had a feeling that something was wrong, something bigger. My worst fear was that they'd find a brain tumor,” says Kaitlin as she recalls the events after her eye exam. A couple of weeks later, Kaitlin was admitted to the University of Iowa Hospital. 

The MRI had revealed she had three brain tumors known as central neurocytoma. It was the same thing that, untreated, had claimed Kaitlin’s grandfather years earlier. Noah says, “This is her greatest fear. And, it's coming to life. It's happening to my wife. It's just words you don’t want to hear.”

The surgeon explained, if the tumors were soft and not attached to her ventricles, he would be able to remove them with no complications. However, if they had hardened or intwined around a nearby ventricle – removing them could cause brain damage or worse. Noah shares his fears in that moment, “She could die during the surgery. I could lose my wife after this. I could be you know, a single parent to our boy at the time.”

Their one-and-a-half-year-old son Jonah, was their first and only child. “I just was sad that I wouldn't get to see Jonah grow up. I didn't think I'd survive the surgery,” says Kaitlin. They were together the night before surgery, when Kaitlin shared two letters, she’d written to say goodbye. One to Noah. And one to Jonah.

“Jay Bear, I love you so much. More than you know. I hope you know Jesus loves you. Daddy loves you and you are so loved Baby Bear. I can't imagine a world without you in it. You bring us so much happiness. Just always remember how special you are, you mean everything to me. Love you, Mommy.” 

“It was just hard to even watch her do that,” Noah says of the moment he shared with his wife.

The young couple also spent that time singing praise songs and praying to God for a safe surgery. “We could either just be mad at God and just blame Him for everything, or we could just lean on God,” says Noah.

The next morning as doctors began the procedure, Noah continued to pray. Thankfully, they were able to remove all three tumors easily. And then… Noah recalls his anxiety, “I was up all night. I was exhausted waiting for Kaitlin. I got a phone call. My heart jumped.” On the phone was a nurse explaining that Kaitlin had suffered a stroke and she had no reflex response on the right side of her body.

Noah went to Kaitlin the moment she was allowed visitors in ICU. “Just seeing Kaitlin with all the tubes and everything plugged into her and her bandage on her head, through her nose and through her mouth, not a sight I want to see,” Noah says.

As Kaitlin slowly regained consciousness over the next few days. It became clear the stroke might have done more damage than first thought. Kaitlin couldn’t speak.

Noah says, “It was thoughts of okay, how are we going to get through this? And back to normal again? What are we going to do?” Noah never stopped praying for his wife of almost 5 years. Noah says, “I'd been praying and just declaring over her the entire time that she'll be able to speak again and, you know, that she'll be able to walk.” Noah stayed at Kaitlin’s side asking family, friends, and anyone he talked too to pray. Finally, after six days, Kaitlin showed a small bit of progress. 

She moved her right hand. “A little bit of a reflex and she had that little twitch of something, it did give a moment of like, a hope,” says Noah. Kaitlin tells us, “I just wanted to get better for him.”

Still, she couldn’t talk. Then finally, on December 22nd, 15 days after coming out of surgery, Kaitlin said her first words. “Hi, Mom” – Kaitlin’s voice rings out over home video captured in the hospital. “And at that moment, that's when I realized that things were going to be okay,” says Noah. Spending the next 3 weeks in rehab, Kaitlin worked hard with her therapists to relearn everything the stroke had taken away. 

And it paid off – she was discharged and sent home on January 17th, 2020, 42 days after her surgery. “Kaitlin was finally able to go home, and it was going to be our new-new, like our new life, you know,” says Noah. “I'm thankful that I'm alive,” shares Kaitlin.

Today, Kaitlin’s is doing great. Everyday her mind and body grow stronger as she still goes to therapy. She was also able to give Jonah a baby sister. Noah and Kaitlin continue to praise God, thankful for each moment they have together. Kaitlin is happy. “I got through this because my faith in God. I'm just really thankful that I get to play with my family now and just create new memories,” shares Kaitlin.

“I just thank God that He saved Kaitlin's life for us. That was a victory that God gave Kaitlin. God was being victorious through all this,” says Noah.

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