Thursday, August 1, 2013

2nd Crani Down

This past Monday was the day of my surgery. All went well! I was in the OR a little before 7:30, no sitting around all day like last time so that was great! My OR team was fantastic (though I can't speak for the anesthesia resident who stuck me about 7 times for an art line...but at least I was out). The anesthesiologist putting me out reminded me of Cam, from Modern Family, asking me how much "wine" I needed to be knocked out. He figured out the right concoction :-)

My surgeon's part of the surgery ended a little around noon since that's when my parents got to talking with him. Everything went perfect! Better than expected. Pre-op he had had me sign consent for Gliadel Wafers which are kind of chemo-infused wafer that is placed in the surgical cavity after removal of the tumor. This helps combat the "blood-brain" barrier issue of most traditional chemo's. My preliminary pathology though looked about the same as my prior patho so my surgeon decided he didn't need to place the wafers! Very good news!

Preliminary pathology is not final, I won't have the final results for two weeks or so but the fact that the preliminary results looked about the same is great It means that my tumor hasn't transformed into an obviously more aggressive/malignant tumor yet (it's still considered malignant, just not as "high" on the scale). While I am hoping this means I can skip out on radiation I wouldn't be surprised if they still recommend that I do it. At this point even though the tumor appears less aggressive a recurrence in less than two years is pretty quick and they may still want to treat it aggressively. I should know more after I see my surgeon next week, he may also have me set up appointments with the oncology/radiation oncology doctors I saw before.

The rest of my hospital stay was uneventful. Even though I told the anesthesiologists that I do NOT handle anesthesia well and they gave me "all" the drugs, I still spent the first few hours post-op nauseous and vomiting until they pulled out all the big guns in that regards. After that things went much more smoothly. I spent about 36 hours in the ICU even though by the next morning I was up and getting around, and then spent another 18 hours or so on the "floor" once they finally had a bed ready. The new digs up there at Hopkins are MUCH nicer than the old hospital though so while that helped a little it's still better to be back at home in my own bed on my own couch. I had a post-op MRI (MRI #10...hit the double digits!) which looked "great" (I haven't seen it) and after spending most of Wednesday convincing people that I was ready to leave, I was discharged around 5pm (they didn't want me to think they were "kicking" me out, I told them they could kick faster if they'd like).

Panorama of my ICU room - definitely an upgrade!

Arterial line pokes!
At least I was knocked out!

Day 1 post op - the bandage was actually stapled to my head and removed the next day

Views from the 12th floor at Hopkins



Panorama of my "floor" room, note, no roommate! :-)

Post op day 2, bandage removed

Views from my bed.

I've been home (Virginia) since. My parents are still here and Kim showed up this morning to help "babysit" me for a few days after my parents leave. Helen & Will should arrive this weekend and I'm up for visitors so just shoot me a text or phone call. I'm here until at least the 12th which is when I'm getting my staples out (they have to stay in for two weeks the second time around). I'm not sure they even shaved my hair at all this time so while that helps with the appearance it's a lot harder getting all the gunk out while still keeping my incision dry...I think Kim will be helping me with that at some point soon. I'm not sure who makes the call as to how much to shave but it's nice (if I don't have to do radiation because that will make my hair fall out) that I'll get to miss out on the awkward hair stages.

That's all the updates I have for now. Should have more after my appointment on the 12th. Thanks for all the love, prayers & good thoughts! You're all very much appreciated!

**Update**
Kim washed my hair :-) It's pretty hard for me to do since I can't see the incision, I also didn't mention that I can't feel it, nor can I feel most of my scalp at the moment (side effect of having all the nerves torn apart as your scalp is peeled off...sorry for the visual). Also means I can't feel the staples, but it won't stop me from feeling them coming out.


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