Monday, April 21, 2014

Amie's surgeon is...... Bill Nye the Science Guy?

Dr. Garton is the Neurosurgeon we met with tonight, as well as Dr. Robertson, our normal Oncologist.


He reminds me so, so much of Bill Nye, in a really, really, great way.

I say that, apropos of nothing, but just to lay out the feeling you get when you talk to him.  He's obviously a teacher and a doctor...he wanted to educate us as to why and how he made the decision that surgery needs to happen, and needs to happen soon.

He started by lining up MRI scans (which, incidentally are insanely cool), of Amie from the same view, across time.  He showed us the two sites that were of a concern last August, and then sped them forward through each scan.

The scan we had in January showed two sites.  One on the outside of the cerebellum up against the skull that had grown minimally, and one other site, much deeper in the brain cozied up to the brain stem.  The deeper site was negligible in threat, and they weren't even sure it was tumor tissue.

This time?  Holy moly.

From January 2014 to April 2014, the deep site has gone from the size of a.....flattened pea to the size of a golf ball.  As this has happened, it has destroyed good cerebellum tissue as well as pushed other structures around in the brain, harming their proper function.

So.  What do we know after this meeting?

  • We will be having brain surgery within the next week.
  • Amie's ataxia (meaning lack of coordinated muscle movements) is going to get worse as the cerebellum (the part of the body concerned with such things) is being eaten and pushed around by the tumor.
  • The surgery will not be easy, because the tumor is well into the interior of the brain, which might mean some good tissue will be harmed in the pursuit of the bad.
  • The cerebellum is remarkably resilient, because it's all about learning to overcome obstacles, and she (provided things go well) will regain most/all of her movement issues once the threat is gone.
  • The surgery is not intended to cure anything, but to buy us time to intervene with other therapies that will attempt to restrict/destroy the tumor.
  • Left alone, the tumor would grow into the brain stem quickly, and that would be terminal.
  • Amie has the ability to charm the living pants off anyone.

So that's what we know for now.  They're going to talk about her needs tomorrow morning with their teams, look at surgery availability, and get back to us tomorrow about the time of the scheduled surgery.  It might be as early as Wednesday, or as late as next Tuesday.

When we know, I'll put it up.

Thanks, y'all.