Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The "Un-identified" object

For a little better view in order to see the object that my NIH doctor thinks is a cyst, click on the photo above to enlarge the image.

The plan......

The surgery will be performed by Johnny Delashaw and the OHSU neurosurgery team in Portland, Oregon. OHSU is the abbreviation for the Oregon Health and Science University where I have had my previous 2 surgeries.

The date will be Monday May 16th with the time to check in to be confirmed on friday.

The surgery to be performed will be the same as my previous 2 which is a debulking of the vestibular schwannoma via the retrosigmoid approach.

It is estimated my hospital stay will be 3-5 days following my surgery and then 4-6 weeks of recovery before I can return to the gym, running, hiking, and diving.

"How does the surgery work?" I have been recently asked in an interview.

All my hair will not be shaved off. For the last surgery they only shaved a little bit along the intended incision site which my long hair covered up. The incision is actually quite large though. It is the shape of a half moon or C extending above and around my ear ending along my neck. So perhaps it is about 4 inches. I will have to measure this time.

Once they open the skull, they use a retractor tool to life up the back of the brain called the Cerebellum. The tumor is behind it, so they need to move it out of the way in order to freely access the mass Then they will cut into or puncture the tumor and use a sonicator (like the instrument used to vibrate the tartar off your teeth during a dental cleaning) to break up the inside of the tumor. Then they safely remove as much tumor tissue as possible without damaging nerves and structures attached.

It was once described to me like scooping out the inside of an orange.

So yes, that means to peel or "shell" and some tumor tissue will be left behind.

The surgery typically takes 4-6 hours.

Waking up in recovery is a B_TCH! I personally do not tolerate it well and the first time around was pretty scary. On my second surgery they were able to administer anesthesia a little gentler on me so I was not waking up VIOLENTLY throwing up and convulsing. Yet I was still throwing up and had pain. It was just easier going than the first. That part makes me really apprehensive and I do not look forward to.

After I get out of the hospital I will be staying in Oregon with my parents for the first couple weeks of recovery. The first week is really challenging and I need a care giver to help me......most especially with giving me meds on a consistent schedule.

Okey doke. That gives you the basic gist. I need to hit the hay. We are going to try out a dive tomorrow and then leave for the Oregon coast for a few days on Wednesday. Nighty Nite! :)


Holly said...

I will be praying for you on monday May 16th and the week after.

Brian Aker said...

Thank you for sharing. I truly appreciate your strength and determination. Wish you the very best, look forward to seeing your updates after your surgery. Will be thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

good luck,as my wife suffers the same condition

Rebecca said...

Thank you Holly, Brian, and Anonymous friend! I know your prayers really helped make the surgery experience kinder! I broke my own record for hospital discharge as they were able to keep me from having a bad reaction to the anesthesia. The doctors actually had me wear a motion sickness patch which really worked! Although I had the unavoidable nausea in ICU, it was so much kinder this time and when they moved me out of ICU I was able to hold down all my meals!

It seems I am doing good in every aspect except damage to my face which causes challenges with simple functions we take for granted. The medical team is hoping it will recover in 6 months. I had an outpatient surgery yesterday to implant a weight to protect my eye and have an appt on the 31st down here with facial rehabilitation. Wednesday evening I was really kind of down about it but I feel I have developed a better attitude over the past 2 days. Still more work to go as I am really only starting recovery. So keep praying! :D