Academic Magnet student athlete healing after successful surgery

News 2 has been following the story of Nick Price, the Academic Magnet student and soccer player who was diagnosed with pontine glioma, a tumor located in the pons area of the brainstem (very hard to reach) which is responsible for vital functions such as breathing, sleeping, bladder control and balance. The Price family traveled across the country seeking a surgeon that was willing to operate on Nick’s tumor and when they found Dr. Sanai and Dr. Spetzler at The Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, they knew they were in good hands.

Nick went into surgery to have the tumor removed on Tuesday, June 16 and the family posted updates through the facebook page: Pray for Nick.

10:15 P.M. – On Thursday afternoon, Nick’s mom, Marie, posted a very happy status on the Pray for Nick facebook page:

“From Marie (Mom)- Words can’t describe how happy we are right now. Both surgeons say surgery went well and both believe that Nick is now tumor free!!!!! It was a quick surgery and they are pretty confident. It feels so good to cry tears of joy!!! They do have to confirm this with MRI but right now we are so very very happy. It will take a couple of more hours to close him up but should be back in ICU in a few hours. Thank you God for hearing our prayers!”

Later that day, she updated everyone again with this post:

“From Marie- Jami is leaving in the morning but Kacie & I will still try to keep everyone updated. Nick is sleeping peacefully and not as sick as last time. He is very dizzy when he wakes up & his double vision is much worse in the right eye. He may have to wear an eye patch or special glasses for a few months as this subsides. They did leave a tiny portion of the tumor on the 7th cranial nerve because they said if they went any further, Nick would be left with facial paralysis. They don’t think this tiny amount will hurt him in the future. He will have to get yearly MRIs to make sure nothing changes but they would have to do that if they got 100% of it. They said this was a very successful surgery! We are more than thankful for these brilliant surgeons! They saved Nick! They didn’t have to shave his head after all & they all get a kick out of the color left in Nick’s hair. Here’s a picture of Nick so you can see how peaceful he looks. If you look close you can see the two spots where they attached the frame to his head. Nick still has a long road but we are super thankful the worst part is behind us & the healing can finally begin.”

And as of this morning, Friday, June 19, Nick woke up and said, “Dad, I don’t think I can go to practice today”. His parents said “It’s ok buddy.”

Even more proof of what a brave and strong young man Nick Price is. Charleston is ready for your return and we can’t wait to see you back out on the pitch one day soon. Get some rest and get well soon. Charleston loves you.

As of late Tuesday night, Nick is now recovering in the ICU and his family says he is doing great and he is awake. He is talking and has all of his motor functions. During the surgery the doctors were only able to remove part of the tumor before Nick’s blood pressure started going up. They stopped the surgery and his blood pressure went back down. Doctors said the blood pressure spike was “the brain stem complaining.” They plan on doing an MRI to see how much of the tumor they got and they will decide if he needs to go back into surgery within the next few days. The good news, the tumor is low grade and slow growing and has not spread.

During the surgery, Nick’s dad, Russ, looked up and saw a green #17 sticker on the ceiling in the waiting room. It was the only sticker on the ceiling in the waiting room and it was the same color as the Kickin it with Nick shirts. The family saw this as a good sign and it helped them keep calm while waiting on Nick to come out of surgery.

Now, the family is waiting on the final results from the MRI and pathology before any decisions are made on a second surgery.

Nick’s family posted “we are so happy that he is doing well!! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.”At 10:00 A.M. Wednesday, Nick’s mom, Marie Price, posted this to the Pray for Nick facebook page:

“From Marie (Mom)- Russ and I stayed with Nick in ICU last night. He was getting sick every few minutes due to where they operated. That area of the brain controls your stomach too. The great news is – they can’t find any neurological deficits so far! None! This is AMAZING coming right after surgery. Nick had to use the restroom last night so we stepped out of the room. He yelled to me out in the hallway and said “Mom, I can stand!” He was so excited that he could stand up and use his legs. This morning he is still nauseous but has not thrown up since 3:30. They are keeping him pretty sedated because his head hurts him a lot. They can’t do the MRI until he is no longer nauseated so we are hoping that he will be able to hold food down soon and that will go away.”

At 2:00 P.M. Wednesday, Nick’s sister, Jami, posted this to the facebook page:
Nick is comfortable and resting. Lots of love in this room. Hoping to get the MRI soon.

At 6:00 P.M. Wednesday, Jami posted this to the facebook page:
“We still haven’t gotten the ‘ok’ for the MRI, but Nick just spent a few minutes sitting in a chair and was able to eat a little. The medical staff keep commenting on how polite he is. He answers very quietly “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am” to all their questions. Just a cute little story.. The occupational therapist asked him if he was thirsty and wanted something to drink and he responded “I want a hot coffee”. We’re all so proud of him!  #NP17″

We’re now learning Nick is now getting an MRI. But is in quite a bit of pain.

About the MRI- we were told yesterday evening that there may be a chance they got it all and the spike in the blood pressure was that they were actually on the brain stem. We are hoping and praying this is the case. We do not want them to have to repeat the surgery.

We will keep you updated of his progress over the next couple of days. Every nurse he has that looks at his chart says “You had Dr. Spetzler in on his surgery?!” When we say yes, they say – “Do you know he is the best in the world?” We thought that and now we know that.

Yesterday was a long day of scary ups and downs but I can’t tell you how it feels to now know that we made the right choice and found the right surgeons for Nick. The staff at St. Joseph’s are amazing and taking great care of Nick. They can’t believe how well Nick is doing neurologically. We think God has been protecting our boy this entire time and that all of the prayers all of you have been sending up for us have been heard. We can’t thank you enough for your love and support!”Follow Nick’s story and stay updated on how he’s doing in Arizona here.

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