Friday, September 14, 2012

Medical Stuff

Medical Stuff:

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, nor have I ever taken an anatomy course, a biology course, or really anything science related.  I faked my way through a geology course once.

Here's the basics of what we know is going on:

  • After the first MRI, they saw a "mass" inside her brain, in the cerebellum.
  • The cerebellum is the part of the brain that handles motor controls and balance issues.
  • As the mass is growing, it is affecting her ability to control both gross and fine motor skills, as well as keep her balance.
  • At 5am today, they took her for a "mapping" MRI, where they were going to examine closely her brain and spinal column to get as full of a view of the tumor, and gauge as much about its nature as possible.
  • Total side note, the stuff they used to anesthetize Amelie was the same drug that killed Michael Jackson.  
  • At 7:30am today she is being moved into surgery, with a team of people roughly enough to fill a large football stadium.  Apparently even President Obama is scrubbing in for the surgery.
  • I have to crack jokes.  If I don't, I want to cry.  Hopefully you enjoy my humor.  If not, I shall not apologize.  :)
  • They are expecting the surgery to take roughly 10+ hours.
  • The goal of today is multi-faceted.  They are going in to first biopsy the tumor to find out its intent.  It's not a "real" biopsy, because that takes a long time, so it's not 1000000% accurate, but they have enough experience with this type of thing that they will have a good idea of what they are dealing with.
  • After they shake hands with the tumor, they are going to do their best to remove all of the tumor.
  • They do have to cut through good tissue to get to the tumor, but there's no other way around it.
  • After they finish up with the surgery (around dinner time tonight, Friday 9/14), they're going to do another MRI to see how much of the mass that they were able to successfully remove.
  • At that point, they will reassess the plan.  
  • They may choose to open her back up and go at the tumor more.
  • They may choose to let her heal, and readdress later in the week.
  • They may do the whole thing again tomorrow.
  • Most likely, today's surgery will not be the only one.
  • They are inserting a tube in the top of her head to gauge inter-cranial pressure.
  • They are NOT going to shave her head.  (woo for Amie's curls!)
  • They are going to make a small incision in the back of her head to go at the tumor, and then cut a wedge shaped portion from her skull which will be replaced.
  • Apparently they use "glue and screws" to make this work.  We are both particularly horrified and fascinated by the use of "glue and screws".  Looks like she's got a lifetime of joyous hassle from the TSA anytime she wants to fly!