We checked in at 3:00 on Thursday at Duke. It took 2 1/2 hours to check in. This included blood work and everything. Everyone was so nice that we talked to at each point of the check in. I was very impressed, as I never felt like one of the herd of cattle that I have felt in the past at a hospital. They told me at the end that I had a room already so I didn't have to hurry to the main hospital, we could go eat dinner and then go back. So we went to Costco and ate yogurt for dinner and walked around for a while. So we went back to the hospital about 1 1/2 hours later and checked in the hospital. Everyone along the way there too was very helpful and didn't act like we were bothering them. I was very pleased. After we had been there a little while, they took me to the MRI area to get my MRI done with the dots on my head that give them coordinates to reference for when they drilled into my head in the morning. (They also outlined each one of them with a permanent marker in case they came off, I am still trying to get the sharpie off my head) At each place I had to answer questions and had to tell the symptoms that I had to get me to this place. Each time the people were so intrigued in the symptoms. I am really surprised that no one has ever had symptoms like me. (I guess I always try to be different...haha) They had to start an IV before the MRI so when I got back they hooked me up to an IV and included steroids to help my brain not swell during the operation. They said to not expect to sleep that night. They gave me the steroids at 12 and I slept from 12:15 to 5:00 no problem. (Kara didn't sleep well in her chair) They came and got me about 5:15 and took me down to the OR waiting area. The doctor came and saw me and talked to me (He had flew in the night before and drove straight from the airport to the hospital to meet me and talk to me) then they rolled me back to the OR. They said that they would put me out and install the Mayfield Clamp on my head then wake me back up. (I found pictures of it a little while ago and it looks like a giant C-Clamp with 3 point that they screw down tight on your head to hold it into place. )
They woke me back up and started installing the guide for the drill. Once that was installed the Assistant said he was going to start drilling. As soon as he said drill, my heart rate went up pretty significantly. I told him "see what you did?" we laughed a second then he started drilling. That was one interesting few moments of listening to that drill go...no words can describe that. Once he drilled the hole, the doctor came in and I could see what looked like a skewer that they handed him. He slid it into the guide and stuck it in my head 3-4 times each time deeper to get a sample. Again, very strange. They then had to go out of the room and make sure the samples they got would be good enough for pathology to use to see what kind of tumor it is. That seemed like 3 days laying there in the Mayfield clamp, my neck starting hurting, and back from laying in that awkward position. They finally came back and said it was all usable and then they took me out of the clamp. When they got done unhooking me they took me straight up to my room. I was in my room by 8:45 AM, and alert. I felt fine. Another assistant to the doctor came in and checked on me and asked me questions to make sure I was ok. Kara finally was able to come see me at around 10:00 as the Doctor wants to speak to the family first before allowing them to come see me. By the time she got there I had already ate breakfast. Other than starting to get a headache from where the screws were tightened to my head I felt fine. So after talking to everyone that was there waiting to see me, Kara and I spent time listening to "Always" which has become our anthem in our life now. Then we listened to some other songs that had become favorites, one which will be done in church tomorrow. (You won't relent) I have joked with Kara about getting a Tattoo on and off for several years and last year she said I could get one if I lost 20 lbs. Well, that didn't work, so the other week she told me I could get one if I still wanted it. (My dad reads this and will probably try to talk me out of it...sorry dad) The one thing I never have told her is why I want one. There is a verse in "You won't relent" that goes like this
"I'll set You as a seal upon my heart
As a seal upon my arm"
I want to to have a seal upon my arm to mark me unmistakably as God's...that is why I want a tattoo. That is not for everyone but it is what I personally want to do. Hopefully, I will get a chance to do it. Please don't take this as condoning this for everyone as I know it is not.
So anyway back to the day....by about 3:00 the doctor came in and told me what he thought the tumor was and he thinks it is a Grade 2 which is what we were told by the first neurosurgeon and I told him that is good news ( The best news would be not having it all) he looked at me strangely and said..."yes I guess if you are going to have a tumor a grade 2 would be the best one to have" I don't think anyone has ever said good news and tumor to him in the same sentence. He said that it is still not a final diagnosis until pathology has looked at it but he said his average is being 85% right. So we feel good that what he told us is going to be correct.
We were released to leave about 4:30 and got out about 5:00 and Kara had not ate since Thursday so we drove to Ruby Tuesday and ate dinner. Can you believe that I had, for all intensive purposes, brain surgery at 7:30 AM and was eating at Ruby Tuesday at 5:30? What a great day! We then walked around the mall then went to check in the hotel. We sat there til about 7 then went back to Costco for some more yogurt. Then we went back to the hotel (I know this is so exciting, right?) and we crashed at 9:00 and slept till about 7:00, we were so tired. Got up, ate breakfast and drove home, then took a nap, and then went and got the boys from a friends house.
God watched over us every inch of the way, he sent so many people to help us and we thank you all. We actually had more people that wanted to help but we just didn't have enough for everyone to do. (I am sure we can use use along the way...don't worry) But, thank each and every one of you that did help this time, we couldn't have done it without you. We appreciate all the calls, visits, dinner, driving the kids to their destinations, etc. You all are AMAZING! It is a blessing to have so many people want to help.
The next step is to get the results back from the Pathology lab and see how to treat the tumor. So please continue to pray and ask others to pray. God is already moving...just look at the week I have had and tell me He isn't..and this is just the beginning. Keep reading my blog and watch as He does the extrodinary, you will be glad you did.