Brain Salad Surgery

Hi friends. We have a surgical date for my brain biopsy and ablation – Wednesday March 22nd.

We met with Dr. Chiang again yesterday to walk through the details of the procedure. I’ll arrive at the unpleasant hour of 6:30am to get prepped for surgery. After I’m anesthetized, they will drill a small hole (about the diameter of a pencil) into the back of my skull where the laser device – called the NeuroBlate – will be inserted. Which means I’ll lose a little patch of my new crop of hard earned hair, but I’m over that already.

keepcalmDr. Chiang’s team will be taking MRI images throughout the procedure to guide the device into the right area of my brain. After they take a biopsy, or tissue sample, of the problem area, Dr. Chiang will use the laser to heat up and ablate the tissue. This will kill any cancer cells that are present and can also help “calm down” the swelling that is the result of either cancer regrowth or radiation necrosis (which of these two are present in the tissue will be revealed with the biopsy). The pathology results on the biopsy will also help guide Dr. Chiang in how aggressive she needs to be with the treatment area. If cancer cells are found she will “burn” a wider area; if the tissue appears to just be radiation necrosis she will treat it more conservatively. This is a little different then what I explained in my last post, as I originally thought the ablation would only take place with a biopsy that is positive for cancer regrowth.

The procedure will take about eight hours to complete. The hole is then closed with one or two tiny stitches, and afterwards I’ll spend the night in the ICU. If all goes according to plan they will move me to the regular neurology floor the following day. I shouldn’t be in the hospital more than 2 or 3 days, tops.

So now it’s essentially a lot of waiting until the big day. I’m hoping I don’t get any big eleventh hour surprises from the insurance company, as they decided not to cover the MRI I was supposed to have this past Friday. Fortunately, the last MRI I had in the hospital is recent enough for the neurosurgeon to use for planning purposes (and new MRIs will be taken throughout the procedure itself). I do know that our insurance company has requested more details on my case from Dr. Chiang before they will approve coverage for the ablation, so I’m now doing the “let’s check the insurance website every couple of hours for a new EOB statement” dance. Yale has been very proactive in jumping through insurance hoops in the past so fingers crossed we won’t have any hiccups.

11 thoughts on “Brain Salad Surgery

  1. So glad that Yale is doing the heavy lifting with the insurance company…one less thing for you to do. Thinking of you and sending happy thoughts and good vibes always!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Wow. I am speechless. The Dr. Is going to see your beautiful brain.
    I hope insurance covers it. They suck if they don’t.
    I m sorry. I am hoping ahe blasts the mother fucker out of there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty amazing Paula. After every post is sit here in amazement on how much you’ve endured, how far treatment has come and how much I just didn’t know what they do for treatments. Once again thank you for your entries into the day & life of Paula. We are all learning ! Good luck, stay strong & whoop that big C right out there!! God Bless xoxo😘
    Oh & if insurance give you a hard time just say the word, I think your followers would make the woman’s march seem small in comparison !! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In my humble experience as a physician, let Dr Chiang “discuss” coverage issues with insurance while you discuss healing with a higher power! In the end, sending peace and calm to the team, the fam and the patient! One more step in the journey. Journey on old friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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