They (whoever "they" are) say hindsight is 20/20 and I guess that is proving true for us. For a year or so, Stacey has been dealing with a number of symptoms for which there seems to be no medical answers. From increased fatigue - if you know Stacey, she doesn't normally get tired - to problems with focus and processing at times and numerous other little things, something just wasn't right. Then around Thanksgiving, she started having piercing headaches any time she laughed, sneezed, or coughed. Over the next couple of weeks, the headaches started increasing in intensity and regularity as fatigue became more and more common. One doctor led to another doctor and so on until a spine specialist ordered some scans to see if everything was being caused by something there.
On Monday (01/07/2019), she met with the spine doctor to review scan results. It wasn't her spine. The edge of the scan showed a growth and brain MRIs were ordered STAT. Before those tests could even be completed, we met with a neurosurgeon on Thursday (01/10/2019) and Stacey diagnosed with a brain tumor around the size of a golf ball. More tests were ordered and surgery was set for 01/30/2019. While that a neurosurgeon did nothing wrong, based on the severity of the diagnosis we were encouraged to also seek a second opinion.
On Monday (01/14/2019), a brain imaging test was completed and on Tuesday (01/15/2019) we were able to meet with what seems to be the consensus best nuerosurgeon in San Antonio (Dr. Christopher Bogaev). He provided a much clearer and more sobering picture of the situation. The tumor is larger than originally thought and is invading the venous sinuses. These factors along with the possibility of the tumor being a Hemangiopericytoma instead of a benign Meningioma led to a strong recommendation for aggressive surgery as soon as possible. Dr. Bogaev wanted to operate before the weekend, but knowing we needed some time to prepare, we agreed on a surgery date of Monday (01/21/2019).
During the surgery, the plan is to attempt to remove all of the tumor and to repair portions of the venous sinuses as needed. After the surgery, a biopsy will be conducted to determine more information regarding the tumor. Recovery will involve at least 24 hours in ICU followed by 3-5 days in regular care. Based upon how Stacey is doing at that time will determine if she goes to an inpatient rehab facility or returns home for a 4-6 week recovery period. There are numerous possible effects of the surgery including slurred speech and loss of motor skills, but all should eventually return to normal with proper rehab.
Thank you to all who are praying for us and supporting us during this time. A special thanks to those who have stepped in to coordinate help during and after surgery for our family. My mom (a nurse) is ensuring that post-op care includes a nurse (friend or family) staying with Stacey throughout the time in the hospital. She will also be moving in with us for a few weeks post-surgery to help with care. Cynthia Baker (and the women in our church Life Group) has organized a Meal Train to help with meals and groceries ( https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/20mq65
) , Adam and Brittney Knight are taking care of getting the house deep cleaned while we are at the hospital, Chris Collins (and the men in our Life Group) are organizing outings (movies, fishing, gun range) for the boys throughout recovery time, and Jeff Thomas is setting up a way for people to help financially (without incurring the 8% or higher fees many sites charge). Assistance of any kind is not expected but is greatly appreciated.
We are trusting fully in God and that He is good...all the time; and all the time...He is good! No doubt, understanding is in short supply. Maybe that is why we are told He gives us peace that passes understanding. Someday, maybe we will have understanding....and maybe we never will, but God remains God. He remains in control. He is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble.