CRESTVIEW — For most families, a road trip to Orlando means going to the place where dreams come true or visiting the wizardly world of Harry Potter.
For 5-year-old Olivia Nesseth, her upcoming ride to Orlando is not to visit her favorite Disney characters — Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
Instead, it will determine the future of Olivia, the aspiring cowgirl who loves to hunt for painted rocks and play in the dirt.
"I have hope that she's going to recover but, as a parent, the 'what if' is there," said Audra Nesseth, Olivia's mother. "I don't know if the same Olivia who will wake up after surgery is going to be the same Olivia we know now."
On Nov. 20, little Olivia fell backward while on her 9-year-old brother's shoulders and sustained a concussion. Doctors, however, found something unexpected during a routine CT scan.
Olivia had a brain tumor — cavernous hemangioma.
"It was the worst feeling of sickness that consumed me," Nesseth said. "All I remember is falling to my knees and screaming. You immediately think, how long do we have?
"It was the worst 24 hours of our lives and since then it's been the scariest times of our lives."
The tumor, located in the left hemisphere of Olivia's brain, has already hemorrhaged and caused minor brain damage, which has affected Olivia's personality, Nesseth said.
To prevent further brain damage, doctors will cut 2 inches deep into Olivia's brain on Feb. 13 and attempt to remove the tumor. The risky four-hour surgery could cause paralysis to the right side of the body or seizures, Nesseth said.
With two other critically special-needs children at home, five children total, the family said they are overwhelmed by the support of the community.
Specifically, the painted-rock hunting community.
"We asked for people to send her rocks because she can't go out in public to search for them," Nesseth said. "She's gotten rocks from all over the country. We're in the process of making her a rock garden outside of our home."
Nesseth said for now, the family is praying Olivia's condition doesn't get worse and the outcome of the surgery will be a success.
"This Christmas season is very special because we don't know what our next Christmas will look like," Nesseth said.
"All we can do is lay it at God's feet."