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You Better You Bet

2007-02-20 - 11:17 a.m.

I got an e-mail from Rex, giving me permission to post his letter to the Ambrosia mailing list. So here is the Suzanne update, straight from the husband's, keyboard:

[Saturday] 2/17/07 10.28 PM

I know many of you have written persona notes, often sweet, and full of grace, asking to be kept apprised of Suzanne's condition. Well, it is my first night back from the hospital and I am beat, so I hope y'all pardon this group broadcast Here's the poop:

After the 3.5 hour surgery, the neurosurgeon came out to myself and Jon, Suzanne's brother, and told us that it went about as well as that procedure could go, with the small exception that it was it was bloodier than expected (normally this particular operation is relatively bloodless), and yet they did not need to go to transfusions. He got the entire mass, but the reason it was bloody was that the tumor was a bit more insinuated into her cerebrum than seen on the films, soooo, he had to take off a small amount of healthy grey matter along with the bad guy.

He suspects the normal tissue removed was, in his words, "silent", meaning not in use, and in right-handed individuals with dominant left frontal lobes (remember, even though my wife is an ambidextrous typist, THAT is a motor function, and the frontal lobe has nothing to do with motor, mostly it has to do with judgment, memory and cognition) the right frontal lobe, which is the one insulted in Suzanne's case, goes largely "unused".

In short, he is confident in the extreme that she will have no net cognitive deficit and the same Suzanne coming out of all of this will be the same one we had going in.

They did what is called a frozen section biopsy in the OR and found no evidence of malignancy. SOP calls for the tissue to be sent off to pathology for a more rigorous exam than could be done within the time constriction of surgery. Hopefully there'll be no variance from the initial diagnosis. The doc really expects none, as he sez that these tumors are 97% benign (up from 90% he quoted earlier and what I've seen al over the net, should I take this as a positive or a verbal misstep? I dunno).

The one black lining to the white puffy clouds of this dreamy denouement is this... Doc sez in 11% of those with this type of tumor, again it was a convex meningioma, tend to regrow them. And something he saw in Suzanne's head, or whatever, made him deduce that she will likely lean towards the higher side of reoccurrence. He would give me any estimated percentages, but said we just needed to keep watch. We are to do a baseline MR study on her head & spine in 3 months and then a yearly MR series thereafter with regular neurologist checkups in the meantime. After 5 years, they will drop it down to a biennial MRI/MRA deal, then...maybe she's free and clear. Who knows.

Obviously the bad news is if it comes back, it means another head-cracking, never fun in the tulips, and another bicameral hit on our finances (the loss of income and the cost of the medicine). If there were anything good to say about this, it would be that, now that we know, we will be vigilant, and at the first sign....out it comes, no sneak attack by a marble-rye-sized "visitor".

She is up and alert, not yet ambulatory, as it is the weekend and the docs haven't made rounds for a while. The first night her BP was dangerously low and she wouldn't open her eyes. The next day, her vital signs, except for her sugars, were all normal. They really hiked her steroids during the surgery, and this cause a huge spike in her serum sugars, like from 180 to 200 or so, so she is now on insulin. Hopefully this will be a short-term deal, I need to talk to someone knowledgeable about such things to find out if diabetic permanence can result, even after they remove her steroid therapy in a few weeks. Or even if it triggers any sort of diabetic latency, she IS a very heavy girl, as most of you know, but has never had a problem in this regard.

Her speech was slurred and labored, but by the next morning she was talking normally, a little bitchy but smiling when I or Jon would come into view. Soon, she was cracking jokes and laughing, as best as she could considering her right jaw muscles were cut clean in half in the operation, and laughing, eating, talking, sneezing, anything oral is excruciating. She has eaten several solid meals, though.

She IS in a great deal of pain, but today (Saturday) was s'posed to be her worst, then it gradually gets better. She looks like she's been beaten up in a bar fight with black & blue coloration stretching from the bandages over her noggin down to her chin on one side and into her eye sockets. And she kept most of her hair, which I think is weird, I would have preferred lopping it ALL off and regrowing it all out at the same rate and time, but....

He crashes.
Sunday AM addendum from home

Anyway, I just got a call from Jon, who remains behind at the hospital guest quarters, that Suzanne is up and around walking on her own and has her bandages removed EVEN!!!! Apparently they removed very little hair just enough for the incision (maybe an inch by 6 or 7 inch path).

That's about all I can tell you. I'm flagging and forgetting some stuff anyway, so.... More as I find out more, if it is worthwhile conveying, that is.

Thanx for being there everybody and God Bless all y'alls.


There was a second e-mail that came yesterday. Most of that was personal, but I think the PS is appropriate:

PS- and not a small matter just talking to Suzanne to see if she's okay with my copy, she reports that there is a STRONG likelihood of her getting released on Wednesday. To come home....not to a Rehab unit! This would be capital! - R

That's the current news that I have. I'll keep you all updated as events and interest warrant.


Will we find out if Donald's hair is real? Read this.

Rosie's gonna have a field day with this.


Well, I have lots to do today. Time to get on with it.

Thank you all again for the good thoughts for Suzanne.

Be seeing you.


2 comments so far

artgnome - 2007-02-20 15:32:32 -
so glad to hear that Suzanne is on the mend, and for the time being, all is well. Thanks for the update.


Brin - 2007-02-21 04:37:16 -
Wonderful news about a delicate operation. Thank you for the information, Old Buddy!


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