Entertainment TV '7 Little Johnstons' ' Amber Says She Would Lay Down Her Life for 10-Year-Old Son Alex 'in a Heartbeat' Before Scary Brain Surgery After 10-year-old Alex Johnston was diagnosed with central apnea, doctors said brain surgery would be unavoidable By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer and Reporter at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 9, 2017 11:29 AM Share Tweet Pin Email One of the youngest 7 Little Johnstons is heading into a life-changing operation and his whole family can’t help but worry what’s next. In an exclusive sneak peek, 10-year-old Alex readies for brain surgery after he was diagnosed with central apnea. Although his parents, Amber and Trent, know the operation is necessary, they’re still troubled by the idea that something may go wrong. “It’s something that I know is best for Alex but as a mom, it’s scary,” shares Amber, the mother of five children who — along with their parents — all have achondroplasia dwarfism. “He’s going under anesthesia. He’s having his head opened up. His spinal cord’s going to be exposed.” She continues, “There’s always risks involved. He could come out paralyzed. He could not make it through the surgery. If I could take away all the pain, if I could lay down and be the one to be operated on, I would in a heartbeat.” FROM COINAGE: 9 Healthy Kitchen Staples That Cost Less Than $1 Per Serving Alex’s parents try to comfort him just before the surgery. “Just before they started wheeling Alex out of the pre-op room, Alex looked over at me and said, ‘Mom, my eye’s starting to water,’ ” Amber recalls. Amber and Trent kiss him goodbye in the hospital’s hallway, reassuring him that everything will go as planned. “He’s overcome with emotions,” Amber says. “He’s scared.” Trent also stays strong for his son but realizes the severity of the situation. “When they come and push him through those doors, it’s tough,” he says. “Sending your child back to have their brain operated on — it’s a totally different level.” 7 Little Johnstons airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.