I’ve just been discharged from hospital today (November 25th, 2008). Surgery started at 7:30am on the 19th. It took about nine hours. After surgery. I spent four days, three nights in I.C.U. followed by three more days at the regular ward. The incision which runs eight inches across my scalp just above the hairline, will have it’s staples (not stitches) removed next week,
Under biopsy, surgeons found my tumor to be a meningioma instead of a schwannoma. It is growing too close to the optic nerve for removing without compromising my vision.
Surgeons performed decompression of the optic nerve instead, by free up space around the optic nerve. The extra space takes pressure off the tumor and the nerve, buying me some time.
I will need radiosurgery.
Decompressing the optic nerve created in me a safer condition to perform radiosurgery. Radiosurgery works to stop tumor growth and may cause swelling during treatment, which would compromise my vision. Now with decompression already done, there is more room around the tumor to tolerate swelling, which is part of radiosurgery side effects.
My surgeon recommended a kind of radiosurgery called Gamma Knife. It would be done here in L.A. three months from now and by the same surgeon.
I was informed on the second day after surgery whether the tumor was removed. My surgeon wrote no. So I asked if that meant the tumor was intrinsic, to which he replied by soothing my arm. That moment I shut my eyes tight as the burden weighed itself on me.
I felt a little dissapointed at the start. But the doctors and staffs carried with themselves such encouraging personalities, that I regained my confidence in a day.
Dr. Lekovic had kept me well informed of all the possible outcomes and their respective risks. So as soon as I learned my tumor was intrinsic, I understood what we could do next.
I have had five surgeries to date. All were major ones. Besides my spine surgery in 2002, this one last week was by far the toughest.
To reach my tumor behind the eyeball, surgeons needed to unroof the brain orbit. This means the bone that forms out forehead must be lifted and then replaced. Same was done for my right cheekbone. My blood pressure once dropped to just 78, while remaining in the 90s rather consistently.
I was given morphine intravenously in the I.C.U.
They took it off when transfering me to the regular ward. Without morphine, brain tissues swelled, my body ached and feverish symptoms developed. I was then prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and steroid which returned me to a stable condition.
My face and parts of the brain is still swollen. But it will go away with time and a lot of rest.
I wish to thank you all for the support and prayers. Some of you had sent me cards and emails during my hospital stay. I will read and reply to all of you. Some also sent me much needed money through paypal and direct bank transfer, which happens to come at just the right time.
Thank you all for believing and having faith in me.
God is guardian and ordainer of my life. Each surgical outcome leads to a different path. It may be different from what we had thought, but I feel at rest knowing each path God leads me to take is always for the best.
Surgery date: November 19th, 2008.
At St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles
By Dr. Gregory Lekovic and team from House Clinic
Procedure: Decompression of right optic nerve.