Friday, March 16, 2012

Well that sucks

Anger, frustration, disappointment, annoyance.  There have been a wide spectrum of feelings gone through today.

Gloomy view from waiting room, foretelling
The visit to the neurosurgeon today was full of hope and promise with the recent discovery of the small hole in my brainstem to access my cavernous angioma.  Well guess what, it ain't BIG enough.

Turns out, to have a chance of a more successful surgery, I need to have a big bleed that causes a large hole that makes the full removal or resection of the angioma more possible.  The surgeon described working through a smaller hole like I have presenting problems, as with a smaller field of view it would be more likely to leave a part of the angioma behind.  This would be a bad thing, and would present danger of future re-bleeds.

To go into a surgery as is would present a 10-15% chance of permanent neurological deficit which could be as bad as losing the use of my left arm, losing the use of my tongue, or as little as not having feeling in my thumb.  Simply to access the front of the brainstem surgically is itself a difficult and risky procedure as there are many nerve bundles that need to be navigated through to get to the site.  Having a big bleed that causes a large opening to access the angioma would drop the chances of this permanent deficit to 8-12%.  Not great in either case.

Putting things into perspective, having some slight vertigo and nausea on good days maybe is not so bad when the prospect of losing much functionality that I have now is very real.  I have even corresponded with a nice lady in the past day that took such a high risk procedure and had a bad outcome.  Her prior condition being not too bad, she wished she had never done it and is 4 months into rehabilitation of her walking normally, with likely 7-8 more to go.

So perhaps I can count my blessings that I don't have a neurosurgeon that is overeager to break new ground in my brain!