We are using this caringbridge site to keep family and friends updated in one place.
On Monday, October 24, I wasn't feeling well and made an appointment to see my doctor later in the afternoon. I had just finished eating lunch at my desk when I passed out, hitting the back of my head on the credenza. Luckily, Kim, Andy and Susan were in the office, heard my crashing fall and called 911. The paramedics treated me and recommended that I go to my primary care doctor. I called Leslie and she drove me there. Dr. Killen said my symptoms were not matching a previously discussed health issue and recommended that I go to the Emergency Room.
Leslie took me to Research Medical Center where I had a preliminary CT scan and blood panel work. Within 2 hours the ER doctor was able to identify a large mass deep in the left lobe of my brain. This might explain some of my charming but absent-minded behavior in recent weeks! Later in the afternoon, I was visited by Dr. Jayson Neil, neurosurgeon, who ordered a chest/abdomen CT scan to make sure the brain tumor did not originate in another part of my body. He also ordered an MRI to get a much closer look at the tumor.
In the early evening I was moved to surgical ICU for observation and given anti-seizure meds.
On Tuesday, October 25, Dr. Amandeep Kalra, oncologist and tumor specialist, visited me to discuss my tumor. He also showed me a picture of it and sized it a 4 x 5 centimeters where 5 cm = 2 inches. Yikes! Dr. Kalra explained that there is good blood flow to the tumor. It is a primary brain tumor (originated in the brain and not from another part of the body). The tumor is very deep in the brain so maximum removal is not possible. It is possible to do decompression surgery and treat the remaining tumor by other methods. A biopsy must be done in order to confirm the type and stage of the tumor.
Late in the day, Dr. Neal's nurse practitioner, Debra Nowak, visited to tell me that I would be having a biopsy early the next morning. Nurses placed some lifesaver candy sized foamy things on my head as preparation. In surgery, these GPS markers would help guide the surgeon. in the mean time, I look quite charming.
Early Wednesday, October 26, I had my biopsy in about 1 hour. I later returned to my room to rest for the remainder of the day. Dr. Neil came by to tell me the biopsy was successful. So far, he could determine the tumor originated in the brain and was not a lymphoma. Samples were sent to pathology. Once the type o f tumor is known, the doctors can chart a course of action. The overriding factor is that the tumor is deep in the brain near the brain stem where motor skills are located. There is some evidence the stem may be involved or just irritated. I will have another CT scan later on in the day and if my motor skills tests go okay, I can go home tomorrow.
I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Neil on November 4. By that time, the pathology report will be available and we can discuss options.
We are optimistic and will post more as things develop. We are very impressed with the doctors and medical staff and believe we are receiving excellent care. I'm feeling pretty crummy right now and need to rest so ask that you not visit yet. Please send good thoughts and prayers. No need to respond with a jazzy message. We know you care and you are welcome to tell others.