First updates from 2/9/12
I'm just going to be blunt:
I have a brain tumor.
I went in to my sleep doctor for my annual check-up regarding my C-PAP machine and since I had an M.D. there, I asked him if he had any idea why over the last week I would be experiencing tingling in my left arm, leg, and facial cheek and occasionally experiencing a metallic taste at the same time. I'd had three brief (less than a minute) experiences, with the first one being the longest at about 45 seconds. He didn't know and referred me to my primary care, who wasn't available, but after describing these symptoms to her nurse, it was recommended that I go to the emergency room. So I did. They did a CT scan and informed my that I have a brain tumor that is "silent", meaning it's not actively trying to incorporate my brain into it's physical existence. It is, however, 2cm in diameter and therefore competing for real estate inside my skull. I was referred to a neurosurgeon and I got my oncologist in the loop due to my history of melanoma. That was all on Feb. 2nd. The neurosurgeon appointment was this morning. That was the extent of my knowledge at the time and so I figured I would wait until today when I would have more info to let everyone know. So, here's the update for today:
I visited with a neurosurgeon today. She seems really good and from the doc that referred her to me, I wouldn't expect anything less. She gave a brief physical exam, then showed Jai and I the CT scan pictures of the tumor. She said that the PET scan that I had taken on Monday didn't tell her much. It seem that PET scans are more metabolic in nature and was more for info for the oncologist (who called and said that the results of the PET scan was encouraging: everything is located in that one spot). She told me that the CT scan doesn't reveal much fine detail. She wanted an MRI and I told her about a new kind of MRI that I had heard about that allows for MRIs to be done with pacemakers. (Pacemakers will literally fly out of the body and attach to the wall of the MRI machine). She went to make a few quick calls and I learned that I was almost correct. The truth of the matter is that there are pacemakers that are safe to run through an MRI machine. So, to make a long and convoluted story short, one possibility is that she'll send me to get one of these new pacemakers, then get the MRI done, go in and get some tissue of the tumor for biopsy, then go in to remove the tumor. Total of three surgeries.
The location of the tumor causes her to look for the highly detailed info of the MRI. Judging from the location of the tumor, she sees that on the side of the tumor that is closest to the center of the brain (where the fissure or divide is) is a part of the brain that controls strength and motor skills on the left side of the body. She doesn't want to risk damaging that. To meet that end, what tends to happen is that the patient (me) is conscious during the surgery so that if she starts to bump that part of the brain she wants to avoid, my corresponding body part will react. It is my own conclusion that consciousness and motor skills are indivisibly intertwined.
So, the neurosurgeon said she'd call me today or tomorrow. It's 10:45pm, so I think it will be tomorrow sometime. More details tomorrow evening.
I feel hopeful about this. It appears that there's no cancer running through my body. The tumor appears to be, given the context of my history of melanoma, to be an isolated melanoma tumor. There doesn't appear to be any spread or metastasis (integrating into other body parts). That makes me feel more hopeful, but it's a lot of instances of "appears to be". Still, it eases my mind a tad.
It's me, Kevin, but with a brain tumor. Disclaimer: I have a very dry and twisted sense of humor. This is a scary situation. The jokes ("tumor humor") could be a little dark from time to time. I intend to keep this rather interesting for you, but if I get a "how could you SAY that?!?" response from you, know it's just, well, I hesitate to use "gallows" humor, but I don't have better phrase for it. Enjoy, and thanks for your support through this time.