Monday, January 9, 2012

Follow-up.

The following Thursday I had my appointment with my neurosurgeon, Dr. L. Now I will preface this with saying I did have a list of questions and things I wanted to go over with him related to my MRI's, the tumor, the surgery itself and continuing treatments. However shortly after I got to the neuro clinic I had to find someone to bring my mom to the ER for rising blood sugars that she couldn't get down. She was fine and is ok now, we think maybe one of her insulins went bad but she did buy herself a 2 night stay at the "hotel" as well. So because of this going into this appointment I was a little distracted and didn't quite go over everything I wanted to, but I do have another appointment with him in a few weeks.

Back to my appointment. My first question of course was about the pathology results. Unfortunately they weren't done yet. My surgeon saw this as a good sign since it wasn't immediately obvious that there were abnormalities or rapid cell growth but he told me to call back in a week to see if they were ready then. Next he went over my MRI's with me. I actually hadn't seen my MRI's prior to my surgery but once I got the diagnosis of a brain tumor I really didn't need a picture to prove it to me, it made perfect sense, I could feel it. Anyways when I get the CD's for myself I will try to post pictures of it, but I was fairly impressed with how large the tumor was and how severe the swelling was. The bodies ability to compensate for illness, disease and injury for so long is amazing, and scary. My post-op MRI was from two days after my surgery, therefore there was still evidence of swelling and bleeding as would be expected but it definitely looked better than the before MRI. My surgeon felt confident that he had gotten a majority of the tumor out but we will better be able to see that on my next MRI, and even though he estimates he got most of it out, that only means he got most of what he could see out. He knows that he left some tumor, that was visible to him, intact, there will also be tumor cells that were not visible to him that remain there as well.

Next up on the agenda was to get my staples out, Dr. L thought a good distraction to that would be to continue answering my questions. Well I was able to focus on conversation for about half the staple removal but when he started taking the ones on the top out my newly grown hair was also coming out with them and it hurt a lot more (no pain meds for getting staples out).  During this time though he talked to me a little bit about my surgery. He said it was a lot more difficult than he had been anticipating since part of the tumor had grown around my optic nerve, part was localized in its own mass and some had grown into my brain tissue and was very close to a major artery. He said that the part he had to leave was the part close to the artery. The risk of damaging the artery was too high and it was an artery that provides blood flow to the part of my brain that controls the majority of the left side of my body. Any damage to that artery could have resulted in partial or complete left sided paralysis, massive hemorrhaging or death, it was better left alone. By the end of our conversation my staples were out, it really didn't take that long or hurt that much, only when the hair was being pulled out as well.

The day before I had my staples out, the staples go almost to my left ear as well

A week after my staples came out. 
The rest of the appointment didn't last long. I asked about when I could drive again - when I was off my meds, and of course I asked when I could go back to work. His response to that was that we could "discuss" it at my next appointment, which isn't until January 26th. For the time being I have been doing my best to try and enjoy this extended vacation I have (might as well, I won't be taking any vacations for a long time!).

Luckily my dad was already headed down to us on that day, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the ER with my mom until he got there. My mom was discharged on Saturday and we drove back to Massachusetts that afternoon. I have to say that I am disappointed that it hasn't snowed once since I got here!

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