We asked a Mayo Clinic expert: How do parents find hope when their child needs brain surgery?

Edward Ahn, M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgery: What parents have to know when their child goes through neurosurgery is that they have to be prepared to be surprised. This is one of the treats of doing what we do in dealing with people at this age: The brain is constantly developing, so if one part of the brain loses function, then oftentimes you'll see another part of the brain make up for that.

Try to learn from your child's outlook.

Dr. Ahn: The children are the ones who sometimes are the most hopeful of the whole family just because they're innocent … their outlook on things. They're not the ones to think, "Why me? Why is it that this happened to me, and woe is me." Instead, they just deal with it.

Remember there's so much growth ahead.

Dr. Ahn: My favorite part about working with the kids is watching them grow up. At the time of crisis, we do our intervention and that's what we are prepared and trained to do. But then when we see the child go on to life and we see them develop, we see them grow to be the child that they were meant to be. That's exciting to me.

Dr. Ahn has helped thousands of families with children diagnosed with brain tumors and other malformations.