Tiny fighter beats incredible odds

Clear Lake baby born with rare tumor equal her size at birth

by Marianne Morf

Jaime Colsrud says she hardly knows what to say when people compliment the beautiful, smiling baby she’s holding.

“They’ll say how big she is, and how pretty she is,” said Jaime. “It’s hard to even think back to the little baby with a tumor as big as she was.”

At a healthy 12-pounds today,  no one could guess that four-month-old Brileigh Colsrud was born two-months premature-- or that she was born with a tumor equal to her three-pound, two ounce size at birth.

“The doctors and nurses called her a tiny fighter,” said Jaime, who is now at home with Brileigh and her husband, Brian.  “She overcame a lot.”

In fact, all of the Colsruds have overcome some long odds, starting with the diagnosis of Brileigh’s rare condition.

Nineteen-weeks into her pregnancy, Jaime was at a routine check-up with Dr. Daniel Gabrielson, of the Gabrielson Clinic in Clear Lake. While conducting an ultrasound, he spotted what he suspected was a tiny tumor on the fetus.  

“He had seen something like it one time during his residency and he knew what it was.  He referred me to the Perinatal Center of Iowa in Des Moines,” said Jaime.

Dr. Gabrielson was right.  Des Moines doctors confirmed his suspicion that the tumor was a condition known as a Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT).  Jaime noted that even the team of doctors at the specialized Des Moines hospital had very limited experience with SCT.  Only one doctor had seen the condition before-- and that had been 20 years earlier.  Sensing Jaime’s hesitancy about continuing her care in Des Moines, Dr. Gabrielson helped her research other options.

The Fetal Center at the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, provided the reassurance the Colsruds were looking for.

“I looked at the hospital on-line and quickly discovered they were one of only a few Fetal Centers with extensive experience with SCT,” said Jaime. 

Oluyinka O. Olutoye, M.D., co-director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center - Texas Children’s Hospital met with Jaime and quickly put her at ease with his professionalism and knowledge.  The doctor described SCT as a large mass growing from Brileigh’s tailbone.  And although just one in about 35,000 babies develop the condition, Dr. Olutoye was familiar with SCT and was very capable of monitoring the tumor’s growth and its effect on the baby and mother.

“It’s basically a case of stem-cells going haywire,” explained Dr. Olutoye.  Huge blood vessels in the tumor can put tremendous strain on the baby’s heart.  Approximately one-half do not survive, he said.

Thanks to early diagnosis and the team at Texas Children’s Fetal Center, Brileigh was a success story.

“Excellent physicians in Iowa picked it up at 20 weeks, which was very beneficial,” said Dr. Olutoye.  “When Jaime came down for evaluation - Read More Via e-Edition


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