That is how I would describe our feelings after meeting with my surgeons last week. Not only did we see our neurosurgeon, Dr. Mickey, on Wednesday, but the next day I also saw my neurotologist, Dr. Kutz.We are so thankful for these men...not only for their expertise in their fields, their straightforwardness, their ability to be reached (and how they quickly respond!), but are thankful mostly for their sincere care and kind bedside manner. They have been an amazing team and it is obvious that they are truly rejoicing with us because of the amazing outcome of my surgery. ALL praise be to God!
The Good News
My acoustic neuroma is gone. Like totally G-O-N-E. Not there anymore. Not even a remnant! Thank you Lord! That means, Lord willing, that it can't regrow and that I won't need radiation. The neurological tests of my facial nerve function went great. Dr. Mickey used the word "spectacular".
Regarding the meningioma, the "bonus" tumor they found back in December, well...it is still there. :( But there is good news surrounding it as well. It is all doctor speak to me, but apparently the "no...blah, blah, blah" and "no, blah, blah, blah" from the report below is good news! ;)
The meningioma abuts the falx and the superior sagittal sinus,
however the superior sagittal sinus appears to be patent. No abnormal FLAIR
signal is seen in the subjacent brain parenchyma. The diffusion weighted
images demonstrate no evidence of acute infarct. There is no hydrocephalus,
acute hemorrhage, significant mass effect, midline shift, or extra axial
fluid collection. Midline structures are within normal limits. The paranasal
sinuses are clear.
So, although I really wish I didn't have this remaining tumor to deal with, I really am thankful that there isn't any evidence that it needs to be dealt with urgently.
The "Not So Good" News
The other part of the report stated:
Again demonstrated is a left posterior parietal parasagittal meningioma whichWhen I read that, my heart sank. All I could see was GROWTH.
measures 23.4 mm transverse by 23.5 mm AP by 23.4 mm craniocaudal, previously
measuring approximately 22.0 mm transverse by 21.0 mm AP by 21.9 mm
Before Dr. Mickey came in, we met with one of his nurse practitioners. I had interacted with him many times over the phone, but this was my first time to meet him. He went over my scans in detail with us, redoing measurements and commenting on the images that sat side by side on the screen---December vs. May. He said he agreed with the radiologist, that it was definitely growing and it would need to be dealt with. Our hearts were heavy because I think we just hoped that it would have "arrested" and we could go on with normal life. We mentioned to him that we have had quite the year with our insurance, so having met the maximum out of pocket financially ($$,$$$-only through the Lord's amazing provision!), maybe the meningioma should be dealt with in 2013. He concurred...and the lump in our throats grew.
I liked the nurse practitioner a lot, but as our meeting dragged on, I began to wonder if we were actually ever going to get to see Dr. Mickey! When alas, he stated, "Dr. Mickey sees a lot of these and will know what to do, let me bring him in." Um, yes. Thank you. ;)
Dr. Mickey came in and after doing a couple of tests and telling me how great I looked, said, "I am not at all convinced that this thing is growing!" What!?! A sigh of relief.
He had me come sit next to him to review the scans. He got out his model of the skull and asked us to imagine that I had a peanut in my brain. Depending on the angle that the MRI sliced it at, it could show very different measurements. The radiologists know that, and steps are taken to minimize error, but the chance is still there. Most likely it is growing, but slowly. Apparently the way the MRI was ordered, it focused more on the acoustic neuroma than the meningioma. So, the "money shot", as Dr. Mickey called it, wasn't taken.
He too said that it has to be treated...possibly with radiation, though he doesn't really recommend that...most likely surgically removed. Because of its location, he will not be able to take all of it. It is too close to a major blood vessel and the risk isn't worth it. Any surgery is risky, but this one is supposedly less serious and less traumatic to my body. Though I didn't think to ask him what my recovery time would be like. Radiation would most likely be necessary later if it starts to regrow. :(
So he was basically on his way out after telling us to repeat the MRI in 6 months, when the NP mentioned our insurance fees being met for the year and the possibility of operating sooner than later. It would be nice to not have to fork out another $$,$$$ if it indeed needs to come out in the near future. Dr. Mickey thought that was good reasoning and decided to have us do the MRI in early November so we could get a better timeline. The NP actually reserved a day for surgery in December because their schedules get so busy with everyone trying to get things done at the end of the year when deductibles are met.
It would be great if we could put it out of mind until November. Instead though we will be doing research and praying and planning and thinking and praying some more.
Please pray with us as we consider these things:
- Meeting with our radiation oncologist, Dr. Nedzi, again to get more information.
- The timing of everything: emotionally, physically, financially, etc.
- Our desire to use our same surgeon, whose career is...how can I say this...not exactly at its beginning stage. ;)
- The unknowns of what "ObamaCare" will look like after this year.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Thank you for journeying along with us. Your encouragement, prayers, and just plain interest continue to minister to us in an incredible way! We could not fathom walking through this without Christ and his body.