Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Oct. 23, 2000

Local 9-year-old facing surgery for tumor

By Lynda Jensen

When most boys turn nine years old, they think about wrestling, baseball, and video games.

For Brandon Rehmann, these kinds of thoughts are far off in the distance since he was diagnosed with a tumor in his brain two weeks ago - days before his ninth birthday.

The tumor is between the size of a golf ball and softball, sitting behind his eyes, his mother, Michelle Rehmann, said. It is unknown whether the tumor is benign or malignant at this time.

The location of the tumor makes it almost more dangerous than the tumor itself, Michelle.

The tumor sits on top the optic nerve at a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, Michelle said.

"It's the part of the brain that has to do with personality," she said. A pituitary gland also sits nearby, which regulates hormones and growth.

The diagnosis sent Brandon's family reeling, said his aunt Delores Kieser, Montrose.

Brandon is the only son of Michelle, a single mother, and the grandson of Harvey and Lucy Rehmann of Winsted.

Brandon attends Lester Prairie Elementary as a third grader.

The school has been wonderful, Michelle said. "They were willing to do anything to help," Michelle said, including offering Brandon a tutor.

The tumor was discovered after months of uncertainty about Brandon's eyesight. His eyes would turn out and jiggle, Michelle said.

"I brought him to 10 doctors," she said. None could give her an answer. Finally, she took him to a specialist at Park Nicollet, since her mother heard of another case there that appeared similar. Within a short time, an MRI revealed the tumor.

Surgery at Children's Hospital is scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 24 for the second time.

Michelle's family rushed to Brandon's side to attend his first scheduled surgery, which was set for last week. However, at the last minute, the surgery was bumped.

"He was waiting on the table with tubes hooked up and everything," Michelle said. Parts of Brandon's head were shaved to accommodate the surgery.

However, the surgeon became ill while he was performing the surgery before Brandon's and Brandon's surgery was rescheduled for this week.

Even if the surgery is successful, the surgeon will be unable to remove all of the tumor, Michelle said.

Brandon is expected to spend 10 days recovering from his surgery at Children's Hospital. Get well wishes may be sent to:

Children's Hospital

Attn: Brandon Rehmann

2525 Chicago Ave. S.

Minneapolis, MN 55404

Overall, the fastest expected recovery for him will be four to six weeks, Michelle said.

For the past number of weeks, Brandon has been home, except for one visit to school in honor of his birthday.

His mother keeps him home, fearful that he will be accidentally bumped, which could rupture the tumor and possibly kill or permanently injure him.

For those who are interested in helping Brandon's family with medical expenses, donations may be sent to: Community Bank Winsted, Brandon Rehmann Fund, P. O. Box 130, Winsted, MN 55395

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