Ben was experiencing numbness and weakness in his hand, which he initially thought was carpal tunnel syndrome. Eventually, an MRI revealed that he had a Cavernous Hemangioma in his spinal column. These are benign clusters of blood veins; imagine a mulberry. They're not uncommon, but the large size and location of this mass high up at C2 on the spinal column, and the fact that some of the mass is entwined with spinal tissue, makes it an unprecedented and somewhat risky surgical challenge. That spot on the spine is Grand Central Station for controlling all function below the neck.
Luckily, we were able to find a superstar neurosurgeon to do the surgery on Sept. 19 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Fred Meyer is chair of the department of neurosurgery at Mayo and is also dean of the Mayo Medical School. He is the executive director of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and has awards and accomplishments too numerous to mention. When a friend of a friend--a neurosurgeon in Vermont--heard that Dr. Meyer was going to do the surgery, he said, "Fred Meyer is the f*****g Man. He's basically a living legend in the field of neurosurgery." As a bonus, Dr. Meyer is a super nice guy and an alum of Ben's medical school at Boston University.
We expect that Ben's recovery and rehabilitation after this surgery will be rather lengthy, and Ben has temporarily withdrawn from medical school until he is able to go back. We hold fast to the conviction that the best possible result from this surgery lies in the talented hands of Dr. Meyer. Please keep Ben in your thoughts and prayers.