Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update #6: Surgery

Sara's primary care physician is amazing. We managed to schedule the surgery for Tuesday the 4th; presurgical consultation is on Monday the 3rd. We also managed to convince our balky insurance to step in to pay for the more expensive surgeon.

The bulk of the tumor is between the size of a tangerine and and orange (hailstones are measured by sports balls; tumors are apparently measured by fruit), and is taking up a large portion of Sara's right frontal lobe. As of right now, that entire part of her brain is essentially nonfunctional; once the edema lets up, some of the area under pressure will come back online, relieving (they think) most of the short-term memory loss and focal difficulties*. Which means posting on the blog again.

They're going to remove about a third of her skull, overlay a copy of Monday's MRI on her brain, and strip out everything that's tumor. The surgeon who's going to do this does this operation three times a week. Let me repeat that: Dr. Silbergeld walks into work, has a cup of coffee, removes a third of a person's skull, sews the wound back up, goes home, and goes to sleep.

In terms of the risk and recovery time, the surgical resident we were talking to seemed very optimistic. His response was: "oh, yeah, this isn't like abdominal surgery;" the underlying assumption being that "oh, yeah, this is just brain surgery."

-- ACS

* In case you're worried about there being a lot of permanent cognitive difficulties, go back through Sara's archives back to June. There's been probably been a large tumor (or something) in her brain since then.

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