It’s a moment every father of a daughter waits for, the walk down the aisle. For one Oklahoma man, though, this moment was all but impossible.
Walter Thompson’s surgeon said the fact he can walk at all is a miracle.
His tales are as tall and his mustache is long.
“I shaved it off when my daughter was 4 years old, and when she seen it she said daddy put it back on,” said Thompson. “I have not removed it in 22 years, sir, and I would not for her wedding day.”
Getting to that wedding is an amazing tale in itself, that starts when Walter lost some feeling on his left-hand side.
“I had noticed that I couldn`t button my shirt sleeves,” he said. “I noticed my foot would tap a little on the front.”
An MRI revealed these were minuscule side effects, to a massive problem.
Doctors discovered a fist-sized, internal capsule glioma tumor, right in the middle of his brain.
“Inoperable, every one of them said inoperable,” Thompson said. “Except my friend Mike Sughrue.”
Dr. Mike Sughrue is a neurosurgeon with The Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City. He’s also one of the few doctors who performs awake brain surgeries.
In these operations, brain stimulus is key. Thompson spent the duration of surgery speaking with doctors and moving pegs around a peg board.
These actions helped show the surgeon which areas to avoid in the brain.
“Never have I felt anything like that sir, never,” Thomspon said.
But even with this cutting edge technology, the cards were stacked against Thompson. Officials doubted he would be able to attend his daughter’s wedding, scheduled three days after surgery.
“I said you have one of the most difficult brain tumors we do,” Sughrue said. “There`s a real high chance, if not almost a certainty, that we`re going to paralyze you trying to take this out.”
“He said ‘Mr. Thompson, that was a lot of pressure you put on me'” said Thompson. “I said sir, I believe you have done it, though.”
To say the surgery was a success is an understatement.
With family at his side, he walked his daughter Ruth-Ann down the aisle last Saturday.
A moment that seemed all but impossible, now a testament to one surgeon’s skill, and one man’s faith.
“I didn`t think I was gonna be able to walk her. That was a troubling thing in my heart,” Thompson said. “The day God laid her in my arms, she`s a precious young lady, and I`ve looked forward to this day.”