Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Visiting with Doctors

We've had a busy day visiting with neurosurgeons and taking in all the information! This morning we met with Dr. Jensen at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and this evening we met with Dr. Reichman at the Utah Neurological Clinic. After visiting with both surgeons, here is what we know:

- The tumor is about the size of a golf ball (1.5").
- The tumor is located just above and behind his left ear. 
- The tumor is most likely an astrocytoma. The exact cause of this type of tumor is unknown.
- Scott can't drive for 3 months from the date of his seizure.
- It is unlikely that Scott will have another seizure while on the prescription he's been given.
- The tumor is most likely slow growing, and Dr. Jensen guessed it has been growing for a couple of years. Dr. Reichman said it is probably a Grade 1 or 2.
- Both neurosurgeons agreed that Scott needs to have surgery and that the ultimate goal would be to remove the entire tumor. Depending on the location and other factors, part of the tumor may be left to prevent damage to the brain.
- Depending on if the tumor tests benign/malignant and how much of the tumor remains after the surgery, Scott may need chemo or radiation therapy afterwords.

There were a lot of similarities in what both Doctors told us, however, there were a couple differences. Before the surgery, Dr. Jensen recommends we first do a functional-MRI (fMRI) where they will have him do tasks for a few hours during the MRI. Physicians use fMRI to identify regions linked to critical functions such as speaking, moving, sensing, or planning. If the tumor is near any of these critical regions, they can take extra care when operating not to damage or remove these parts. Dr. Jensen's main concern is that the tumor may be near the language section of his brain. During the surgery (after the tumor has been removed but before they close Scott up) they can do another MRI to make sure they have removed the entire tumor during the surgery, so they wouldn't have to go in again. 

Dr. Reichman is more concerned about the effect the tumor could have on Scott's peripheral vision, and wants him to go have a test done with an eye doctor before he would operate. Although the tumor appears to be slow growing, he recommended removing it as soon as possible. He said there is always some risk with waiting because the tumor could be growing faster than they originally thought. Dr. Reichman would do a traditional MRI (rather than an fMRI) before the surgery and would not do another MRI until the surgery was completely over (no in-operation MRI).

Both doctors say that Scott will spend a night in the ICU, followed by 2-3 nights in the hospital. About a week after the surgery, Scott will be able to resume most of his day to day activities and about a month after that he should be nearly back to normal.
Right now we need to decide which Dr. we will go with and when to do the surgery. Both Doctors are able to accommodate Scott as soon as late next week, but we are also trying to take into account the fact that our baby boy is due in less than a month. Scott is in the middle of his semester at USU, but we hope his professors will be understanding and work with him. We will continue to pray for the guidance of Heavenly Father as we make these important decisions.

Thanks again for all the prayers and support. Everyone has been so kind and we have received many offers for help.

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