What a day it was yesterday. I went to bed at 8pm with my boys and woke up at 10:30pm and never went back to sleep. (I just woke up from 4 hours of sleep; it’s 2am, which is a long stretch for me on these steroids). We started the day off with the feeling that every neurosurgeon we had been referred to had a long wait for an appointment. We were fairly certain that we were going to use the neurosurgeon that did my biopsy since he had the time for us. Yesterday morning, while I was being showered in prayers from my Bible study group, Sean received a call from a highly recommended neurosurgeon at UCLA who had just looked at my pathology reports and scans. He squeezed us in last night for a 5pm appointment. Before we even arrived for the appointment we had a surgery date set aside for us and knew that the doctor was willing to perform the surgery himself and see us through this process.
At the appointment, we went over all my reports and scans. He even took my staples out of my head (which I will never be afraid of again). We went over the multitude of side effects I am having from the medications. Yesterday morning I woke up with a fat chipmunk face, apparently steroids make your face swell! And it’s funny because the day before I thought my moisturizer was working really well! I’ve also had joint pain, 5 lbs of weight gain in 2 weeks, heartburn, sleepless nights, a little memory loss, etc. All of that will go away when they take me off of the steroids a week after the surgery.
The neurosurgeon has a plan for my operation, different than the previous doctor we were going to use, and I like it a lot better. Instead of a shaved head, a horseshoe size cut, and a 2×2 or 3×3 chunk of skull being removed and replaced to do the operation, I will get a smaller section of hair shaved, so I will get to keep some! He’s going to double the size of my shaved spot which is now about 1×2 inches and extend the incision I already had done by about an inch. He will then use make the nickel sized hole quarter sized and operate through that. The tumor is a little larger than an egg and he will use suction to get it out. He also has so many tools and machines that will be used during the surgery, such as a continuous MRI hooked up to my head so they can watch and see exactly where they are during the surgery and what they are taking out. They also will do a biopsy first and use a neuropathologist to do determine they type of tumor and then continue with the removal plans based on the type. At Scripps, they used a general pathologist when they didn’t get a good biopsy. They also used a general anesthesiologist where at UCLA it will be a neuroanesthesiologist whom all have around 20 years of experience. Everyone along the way will be trained in their field as well as on the brain. It is just so much more comforting. The doctor seemed to have such a great team and said that he would do the entire surgery. (I have been a little concerned about residents doing my surgery if we went to a teaching hospital). This neurosurgeon has been doing surgery for 30 years and teaches all of the newest procedures and they have all of the latest equipment. I just feel so comforted by all of the advances and specialized care I will receive. So I signed the consents last night and will have the operation on Friday, December 16th in Los Angeles (where we moved to San Diego from and still have family up there to stay with). I will be in the hospital for about 4 days and be home in time for Christmas!
The only bad news we received was that he thinks the tumor is a grade 2 or 3 glioma, based on the images. We will figure out the next steps after he knows for sure what type of tumor it is.
Thank you all for your love and support and prayers. Yesterday my mom and I were talking about that “Footprints” poem, and this is a time I feel there are only one set of footprints in the sand! I’m being lifted up and carried through all of this.