Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dad's Noggin

Here's a brief update of what's going on inside dad's little noggin.

For those of you who don't know, since January he's had double vision since January that has affected his far away vision. An MRI was done, and he was sent to a neurologist. The MRI was negative at this time. The neurologist started him on a medication for ocular myasthenia gravis that appeared to be helping for a short period of time. At this point he started seeing a neuro-opthalmologist to follow up with the possible diagnosis of ocular MG.

At some point a few months ago it got worse. So he tried a week of steroids and kept taking the medication. It improved fairly significantly but after he stopped taking the steroids, the vision returned as it was.

Last weekend, the double vision continued to worsen and began affecting his upclose vision which was very frusterating for him, as you can only imagine. Another MRI, this time with and without contrast was done and showed a small meningioma in his caverous sinus.

A few definitions for you:

Meningioma: this is a tumor that can have several different presentations. Only a very slight percentage invade the actual brain tissue. An even smaller percentage are cancerous. His is neither.

Cavernous sinus: this is located in the base of your skull and although the name is confusing to some, it's not a sinus cavity that houses your snot during allergy season. Simply put, the cavernous sinus is a little area that houses a lot of blood vessels and is where your 6th cranial nerve (the ocular nerve) travels between the eye and the brain. Hence his vision symptoms.

On Monday morning, he, mom, and I met the neurosurgeon at UTSW to formulate a plan. As expected, he told us that it is likely benign (and he knows this based on the location and presentation). He also said that the cavernous sinus is not a place they like to operate because of the nerves that run through there. Operating on a tumor there would likely worsen his vision and it would be a permanent worsening. Obviously not our goal. So with those things in mind, he suggested radiation therapy. Radiation will either halt the growth of the tumor, lessen the size of it, or blast it to smitherines, but there's no way to know until you do it. This will most likely be a one time radiation treatment that is done by a radiation oncologist. (Again, no...that doesn't mean this is cancer. They are just the doctors that do the radation.)

Dad will meet the radiation oncologist for a consultation next Friday to discuss the options. And we'll take it from there.

The one peice of info that I didn't see coming was that the neurosurgeon isn't sure what his sight will be like even if the tumor goes away completely. It could return to normal, get a little better, or stay the same. This depends on if the nerve there has been damaged or if it's just irritated and compressed by the tumor.

All of that said, here's how you can support him in prayer:
  • that he maintains a healthy attitude emotionally and spiritually
  • the radiation blasts the tumor away permanently
  • his eyesight improves or even returns to normal
We appreciate your care and concern!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brain Tumors, Rain, and The Month of June

IMPORTANT EDIT: Unfortunately I allowed the term "brain tumor" that was being used incorrectly over and over to penetrate my syntax. It is absolutely NOT a brain tumor but is very difficult to describe in other terms unless you are familiar with skull anatomy. (Yes, it's more than just a big round piece of bone...) In short, the tumor is nestled in the base of the skull where the optic nerve lies.

It's June. Hopefully not the month of our little June. She's not done cooking. We don't want her coming out like a half-baked biscuit, now do we? The Neverland Nursery is coming together peice by peice. The walls and ceiling are painted, and we've got the carpet guys coming out Monday to measure. Hopefully that'll be done real, real soon. I want our hallway cleaned back out!

We're still moving along. She's definitely doing more moving than I am. Yesterday while mom untangled years of wiring behind our TV set (and I helped by holding a flashlight), I watched my belly move around like the Alien was about to pop out of my abdomen. Apparently she was tired of floating on her head. And just so you know, she does this in the middle of the night, too. Not that I'm sleeping much anyways.

For those of you who don't know, my dad has been struggling with double vision since early January. He's seen various doctors and specialists, and nothing has worked. It got progressively worse to the point that it affected his close up vision this past weekend warranting a repeat MRI (this time with contrast). And what do you know...

A brain tumor.

Yeah, initially I was telling people not to say the "T" word, until I read his MRI report myself. There it was - the specific name of what type of tumor they thought. (Sorry, not revealing that info here. We haven't seen the Doc yet and I don't want you people getting all google happy on me.) The early good news is that it is RARELY cancerous, and they even used the word "small" in the report.

Monday morning he has an appointment with a neurosurgeon in Dallas from UTSW that we'll be going to. No, that doesn't mean he needs brain surgery. Neurosurgeons are obviously the experts in brain tumors so they'll make up the plan of care and we will basically do what they say.

All prayers are appreciated. In case you didn't know, there's a swarm of brain tumors affecting pastors these days. Sounds like a mighty plot. Thankfully, we've already won.

On the otherside of things....tomorrow is our first shower. Yay! Baby things for baby June! She's excited, too, she just doesn't know it yet.