This week’s 7 Little Johnstons on TLC is a tense one — as Alex, the youngest member of the family, undergoes brain surgery after being diagnosed with central sleep apnea.
The condition causes you to stop breathing while you’re asleep when the brain fails to send the correct signals to the muscles in your body that make you breathe in and out.
He had already been diagnosed with ‘obstructive apnea’, where muscles periodically relax and block your airways while you sleep.
Last week Alex had an MRI scan to see if he would need surgery, and this week the family hope for good news as Alex prepares for the operation which medics hope will treat the condition.
The episode shows Amber giving Alex, the youngest member of the Johnston family, a haircut to get him ready for the surgery.
He then heads to the hospital to have the operation. Footage shows parents Amber and Trent comforting him before he goes into theater.
Trent says: “Sending your child back to have their brain operated on…it’s a totally different level.”
The new ordeal for the Johnston family — the world’s largest known family living with dwarfism — comes after Alex underwent a tonsillectomy at the end of Season 2 in 2015 after he stopped breathing under anesthesia during an MRI.
7 Little Johnstons airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on TLC.