(New post below this one.)
Here's the update from yesterday which, honestly, isn't much of an update at all.
On Tuesday morning (the 9th), I will be admitted. Tuesday is the angiogram embolization and Wednesday is the actual surgery.
Yesterday, I did all of the pre-op testing (just bloodwork and whatnot) and answered 80 million questions over and over again for about 4 hours between pre-op and the radiologist's office. In pre-op they did the bloodwork, of course, I answered all those questions (including scary ones like "Would you like a pastor to visit with you before your surgery?") and I also spoke with a student and NP from anesthesia and also a PA for my radiologist. Basically, got a check-in time (butt-crack-of-dawn on Tuesday) and answered more of those questions for them.
After pre-op, we went over to the radiologist's office where I was given a full neuro work-up kind of thing by one of the nurses (memory task, walk in a straight line, "close your eyes and touch your nose" ... that kind of stuff). Then another doctor (I believe she was a resident) went through the whole deal about what my tumor is, how they plan to embolize it before surgery, etc. So, if you're interested in this kind of stuff (and I tend to be), here's the lowdown for that part: On Tuesday morning, the radiologist will do an angiogram embolization for me. Or, I should say, he will hopefully be performing an embolization. There is a chance (about 20%) that they will not find an artery to embolize. In order for them to embolize, it needs to be a direct artery to the tumor. If there are no good arteries that are specific to the tumor, they will not do the embolization due to risk of stroke or vision loss. Also, if you're curious (and I usually am), they do not aim for 100% on this type of procedure. The goal is, instead, to minimize the bloodflow as much as possible in order to reduce the risk of bleeding or, if there is bleeding, to reduce the amount of blood loss and also to reduce the time of surgery (longer surgery = more risk, no embolization = more risk for bleeding). So, if you're into probability/odds/chance kind of lingo (and I usually am) there is about an 80% chance that they will be able to find an artery to embolize. I really hope that they will find an artery so that the risk for surgery will be a little less.
If you're into risks and more chance and probability (and I usually am), the biggest risk for this surgery is stroke. That risk falls under about 5%. With my age and overall good health factored in, that risk is a little lower. And with an effective embolization of a good artery specific to the tumor, the risk is even a little lower than that. So overall, the odds are for me. I would like it more if there was no risk at all but, of course, every surgery carries risks. I just hope that my youth and good health will play in my favor.
Regarding time, the angiogram embolization will most likely take a couple of hours (most of that is just finding an artery). And, though I'm not sure (I emailed my surgeon's nurse tonight), I think the surgery will probably be about the same.
And finally, if you're interested in the scar part of this whole thing (this was actually not even a question in my mind until my doctor brought it up), I will indeed have an "L"-shaped scar on my neck. People keep cringing and asking if this bothers me. No, it doesn't. I take showers every day, I regularly go to the hair salon and I generally like to look nice but I am not one to be very attached to my looks in that way. My hair, my skin, my clothes... they can't do anything for me and they definitely don't enhance my quality of life. But my health does have every thing to do with how I live my life and that's much more important than a silly little scar.
And finally-finally, if you're thinking I've left G out of the surgery equation, I haven't. Paul's mom is a true Godsend and will be taking care of him while we are at the hospital. (Really, she is a Godsend all the way around because on days when Paul was not able to stay at home with him while I was at work, she kept him. She worked with our schedules and even came to the house to get him so we wouldn't have to allow an extra 20 minutes in the mornings. Aren't we so blessed by her?!) Also, I won't be able to pick him up/lift him for a few weeks after my surgery so I will have someone here to help me while I'm recovering at home.
Mmk, I think that's all the updates I have. Nervous but ready to just get it over with.
(New post below this one.)
2 weeks ago