Family’s heartbreak as brave Lyla O’Donovan faces ninth brain surgery

The parents of an inspirational little girl who has undergone brain surgery eight times have been given the news they have feared by doctors who say she may need another operation.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 7:32 am
Lyla O'Donovan.

The six-year-old has battled back from a brain tumour, but over the last few months her health has deteriorated, causing her to choke, lose her balance and sleep a lot.

Lyla O'Donovan.

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This week Lyla went to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where doctors told her parents Paul and Kirsty O’Donovan that their brave little girl may need further surgery.

But such an operation comes at a huge risk.

They are now waiting until May when Lyla will have another scan to see what changes have happened and whether she needs the surgery.

Dad Paul, 33, who is originally from Hartlepool, but now lives in Ushaw Moor, said: “We knew from previous scans that this big operation could happen, but speaking to doctors on Wednesday it has become real now.

Lyla O'Donovan with mum Kirsty and dad Paul.

“Doctors said they could operate and remove the scar tissue, but there is a risk with it.

“So they have told me that they won’t do it unless she is struggling to breathe, as the risk outweighs her health at the moment.

“It has been a kick in the teeth, but we just have to look at the positives, because if you start to feel sorry for yourself you can’t pick yourself back up from it.”

Brave Lyla O'Donovan is facing another brain surgery.

The achievement comes as the family look to make as many memories as possible with Lyla.

Dad Paul continued: “We are going to make as many memories as possible and just carry on doing what we are doing.

“We knew that it was going to be a massive operation, but we had hoped that she would be OK.

“On Wednesday when doctors told us she may need it, it became a reality.

“She can’t bring her own phlegm up when she coughs and she is struggling with that and that seems to be because of this scar tissue.

“But doctors can’t confirm that until the next scan, although everything is pointing towards fused scar tissue with the brain stem.

“It’s not common for the scar tissue to fuse in the first place, it is really complex.

“So we just have to wait and see.”

The family have thanked everyone that has supported them throughout Lyla’s health journey and have said they are hoping to go on a trip to Disneyland to make memories with Lyla.