Hello from the other side of brain surgery. I seem to have made it through successfully. As usual, my surgeon was fantastic, the nursing staff was great, and I received excellent care. I could have done without all the noise in Yale’s Neuroscience ICU, but the constant beeping was the least of my worries.
As for the crainiotomy itself, the procedure went according to plan. The MRI was done in the OR, an incision was made, bone was cut, tumor scooped for biopsy, bone screwed back on, and incision closed with mighty wicked looking sutures. My final post op look is Peaky Blinders meets Frankenstein (see right).
And now for some unfortunate news. The final verdict on the biopsy – it was tumor, not tissue necrosis. That makes all the spots that we didn’t biopsy last week highly suspicious for tumor as well. So what’s the next step? I can’t let the tumor grow unstopped, but gamma knife at the same dose level that I had previously (twice) may provoke it to do just that (or cause major necrosis problems). And because of the number of potential tumors and their spread throughout the brain, we can’t just scoop them all out without causing major quality of life issues. More whole brain radiation is also out of the question completely as it seems to have been the instigator for this latest, quick round of tumor growth.
So we’re going with door #4 – another gamma knife session at what they call a lower fractionation rate (which is just a more gentle dose of radiation that will hopefully control spots and symptoms). I’ll be going in on May 17th to get it done.
I can’t say this is good news. We don’t know if it will slow down this freight train in my head or not. But at least we have an option.
We are still planning on going to London in July – 10 days and we’ll take it slow and easy to see the things we really want to see. I don’t want to have to test the British medical system (although on the other hand, I might find it fascinating to at least check out). My ultimate bucket list goal, however, is seeing both of my youngest boys graduate next year (Cas from college and Jasper from high school). All my mental and physical energies will be focused on that goal in the coming months.
Thanks again to all of you for your kind messages of support to the family and me. As I’ve mentioned before, it helps quite a bit to know that you have a cheering section on your side.