Well, last night was a doozy! Chad was really having some issues with memory and understanding. Throughout the day, I knew it was getting a bit worse. I spoke with the nurse and she did an eval – the only question he would get right was, “Who is the President?” He thought the year was 1975, 1995, 1999; and he wasn’t sure where he was. I would leave him to rest and come back to check on him, only to find him standing by the tv pushing buttons repeatedly, or flipping the lights off & on. He couldn’t remember something that had happened two minutes earlier — which started to bother me. I would tell him a few times it was Saturday, but he would say it’s Wednesday when you asked him about it.
I would randomly ask him questions to test him, and he finally had enough of that and banished me from the room – ha! I don’t think he was too clear on who I was for a good part of the day, but that’s okay. It’s my duty to bug him and challenge him so he gets better!
He’s been eating well, but the steroids are playing with his blood sugar levels. He’s had to have insulin a few times to bring it down to their target range (120), but I don’t even think he’s noticed being injected.
After lunch today, his parents & I got a wheelchair & took him outside for some fresh air. The Children’s Hospital here has a 12th floor outdoor rooftop playground, which was a nice change of scenery for him. He walked some, and then got quite tired. He had his meds, and I left him alone for some peace & quiet.
We did talk to is surgeon, Dr. Tatter, today. The post-op MRI looks great.
I cannot express how much I adore Dr. Tatter. When you ask him a question, he is very thoughtful and thorough. He stayed with us until we were all satisfied with his report, and said he’d be back tomorrow.
As far as the tumor removal goes, they did better than they expected. It’s a little difficult to explain, but I will try my best.
Think of Chad’s tumor as a fried egg amidst healthy brain tissue. (And keep in mind that the tumor was once healthy tissue, but has been slowly transformed into tumor cells, so there is no separate mass in his head.) The yolk of the egg would represent the core of the tumor — the more aggressive cells. Most of these cells were damaged by chemo, which is good. The remainder was removed via surgery. Now the white part of the egg would represent diseased cells mingling with healthy cells, on the verge of making the core of the tumor more dense. They were able to remove a part of the infiltrating part, but were careful not to disturb too much. Radiation should take care of the remainder of the bad cells in the “white” part of the “egg”.
80% of the “yolk” or core of the tumor, was removed. I was told it was about the size of a golf ball.
However, when you look at his MRI, it might be misleading. It would appear that they only removed 50% of the tumor as a whole because of the infiltrating nature of the cells.
Confusing, I know, but I hope that helps a little.
They did not touch the part of the tumor that crosses over the midline of his brain. And they did not touch the part of the tumor that extends to the back of his brain because that’s his motor center.
The part of the brain that was removed was in the cognitive/reasoning/thought center — which makes perfect sense why he’s having a few issues here & there.
Dr. Tatter is confident that Chad will regain full thought & reasoning. Simply put, the brain has to re-link itself. And it could take a little time to do that; like a few days or a week.
I’ve already noticed some improvements today, too. He’s able to hold conversations for brief periods of time, and he’s making more sense. I’ve also seen some strength improvement on his right side. He’s walking better, and isn’t complaining of soreness/weakness in his right arm. He’s still pretty apathetic about everything, but that’s the Vicodin talking.
There is a definite correlation between his level of rest and the issues with his memory, so I’m trying to stay out of his way as much as I can. Once he receives his pain meds, I just leave the room for a couple of hours and check on him now & then. Sleep is the best thing for him right now, and I’m letting him have as much as he can get.
Tomorrow, he will receive an ultrasound to rule out blood clots.
He’s been ordered to increase his laps around the floor to 3-4 times a day, so he’s working on that.
He’s not on an IV anymore, which makes him more comfortable, and he can take a shower later this evening.
Things are going really, really well.
No seizures! Everyone thought he might have a flurry of them as he recovered, but he’s been fine.
We could head home on Wednesday, if everything continues to go well AND I feel he’s ready. I am not going anywhere (despite Chad’s protests) if I don’t feel comfortable taking him home. Luckily, Dr. Tatter agrees, since I know Chad best.
I think that’s it.
I’ve got some pictures, but I left them upstairs – so they’ll have to wait until later.