Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Prayers Answered: Surgery Scheduled

My MRI and neurosurgery appointment went well on Friday. Thank you for your prayers.

Basically the tumor is still there, growing, and needs to come out.  I don't think our direction could have been any more clear.

There are lots of other things to be thankful for, too:
  • The acoustic neuroma that was removed in February doesn't appear to be regrowing.
  • No other tumors were found!
  • This coming surgery, scheduled for Monday, 12/16, seems to be more common and straightforward than what I faced previously.
  • A craniotomy is still needed, but no fat graft will be required.  (That was painful last time.)
  • No risks of spinal fluid leak with an operation in this part of the brain (parietal lobe).
  • A shorter surgery...anticipated to be 3-4 hours. (1/2 the length of previous one)
  • Shorter recovery time and ability to drive sooner. (3-4 weeks)
  • My blood disorder (Factor IV) didn't play a role last time, so we can assume it won't this time either.
  • Even the news that it will require a "minimal" haircut makes me happy!

There are of course some risks.  Dr. Mickey pointed out that since I am young, (he can tell me that ALL DAY LONG ;) ) the risks do go down, but they are not ZERO. I will definitely send out specific prayer requests regarding those risks (seizures, swelling, bleeding, regrowth, etc.) as we get closer to the surgery date.

For now I just ask that the overwhelming peace that has come over me will remain! I am sleeping well and at this point just feeling ready to get this thing out and hopefully close this chapter.  When I think back to what a mess I was last year at this time...on steroids, not sleeping, going through the ringer with doctor appointments and decisions abounding, I am so thankful for the seemingly simple sleep and a clear path to follow. As far as other prayers, I also may need some supernatural strength to get Christmas completely done in the next 3 weeks. And I do pray that we will all stay healthy between now and then, as well.

Lily is memorizing a portion of Psalm 139 for chapel and as she was practicing it this morning on the way to school, the Lord ministered to me through it.

Psalm 139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you...

He knows me, my thoughts, my ways, my path...and my body...even down to every cell of this tumor...he knows its precise location, how vascular it is, and exactly how easy or difficult it will be to remove. While I take comfort in being in the hands of a renown surgeon operating in a state of the art hospital, I know I am really resting in the hands of my the presence of an Almighty God.

More to come...
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

MRI and Neurosurgery Consult Tomorrow

Hello! Forgive me for the long silence...there hasn't really been much to update you on!

I see many people landing on my blog after searching for various acoustic neuroma questions...which really makes me want to go back and blog through the entire decision making process we endured last winter. I know it would have been helpful for me to read through a personal account when faced with so many decisions.  We shall see!

So, why am I writing now? Well, I covet your prayers...again. We are heading to UT Southwestern tomorrow morning (Friday 11/15) for another MRI and will meet with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Mickey, right afterward to review the results and make a treatment plan. This is regarding the 3cm meningioma they found along with the acoustic neuroma last year. We continue to be completely amazed at the Lord's kindness to me during the AN surgery on 2/14. Now the time has come to deal with the other tumor. This hopefully benign (10% are atypical or malignant) meningioma is on my parietal lobe and sitting on the superior saggital sinus (the largest blood vessel in the brain).

I tried to write our requests in a concise manner for an e-mail I sent to our pastors earlier this week. I am pasting it below. Thanks for praying...I plan to post updates here, so please subscribe (box in upper left hand corner if not on a mobile device) if you want them delivered to your inbox!  Or you can just click the link below:
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Specific Requests:
  • that the tumor will have shrunk (or disappeared!) therefore postponing or eliminating the need for surgery
  • if treatment is needed, WISDOM about how and when to do it...we are learning towards surgery (vs. gamma knife radiation) and we are thinking this calendar year (because our out-of-pocket is met)...but are these thoughts the Lord's will and best for me?
  • that Dr. Mickey would be decisive and clear with us
  • that the tumor would not cause a seizure before it grows that is the biggest risk and I really want to avoid that ;)
  • for my emotional well being during this process...I am not currently anxious, but as surgery nears (I am tentatively booked for 12/ kind of them to hold a spot for me! ;) ) my anxiety *might* grow.
  • ULTIMATELY, that the Lord would be glorified in the way we walk through this with faith and keeping our eyes on Him
  • I am, by His grace, managing the single-sided deafness well (PTL for TWO ears!)
  • eye dryness issues are under control (being treated with drops made with my own blood serum...crazy!)
  • good insurance and medical care options here in Dallas
  • for a loving church family that has come around us so well...and for pastors prayer! James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Thank you for "asking" on our behalf. Matthew 7: 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
In Christ,
Kerry for the Gibsons
Luke 18:1-8

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