When Dominic Gundrum first came to Boston Children's Hospital late in 2012, his future was very much unknown.
He was born with a large, triangle-shaped gap running from his upper lip through the middle of his nose and forehead, known to the medical community as a Tessier midline facial cleft. His cleft was so large that fluid and tissue from his brain, normally encased in the skull, had seeped outwards, forming a golf ball-sized bubble underneath the skin of his forehead. It's a condition called an encephalocele, and Dominic's was so severe doctors weren't sure how much they would be able to help him.
But despite the unknowns, a team from Boston Children’s Craniofacial Anomalies Program, led by Drs. John Meara, MD, MPH and Mark Proctor, MD, performed a long and complicated surgery to resect Dominic's encephalocele and repair his skull.
Thankfully the surgery was a success, and a few months after arriving in Boston—very unsure about their son's future—the Gundrums returned to their home in Wisconsin with a happy, smiling baby.
Nearly a year and a half since his surgery, Dominic is doing well.
“Dominic just celebrated his second birthday and is doing great," says his father Mark. "He has been crawling for six months now and we are working hard on his walking. And for a little guy who is missing part of his brain (his corpus callosum), he sure is aware and on top of a lot of things."
As Dominic continues to progress, the Gundrums keep in touch with their care team at Boston Children's Craniofacial Anomalies Program. They email with Meara every few months, who in turn communicates with their current specialist, a colleague of Meara who practices in near-by Chicago.
With all the support he gets from his care teams and family, it's no wonder Dominic continues to beat the odds.
"We are working on his talking and he is improving in communication, but since his mouth is essentially man-made (or man-assembled), we know this will take some time," Mark says. "But the most important thing is he continues to be a very cheerful, joyful little guy who is surrounded by lots of love from his whole family. And that family just got a little bigger as 'Dom the bomb' just became a big brother! His little sister Agnes Faustina Gundrum was recently born."
To read the entire story about Dominic's birth, his incredible, 15-hour surgery and inspiring recovery, please read this blog.
To learn more about the team that treated Dominic, including information on how to speak with our experts, visit the Craniofacial Anomalies Program website.