Today, Matthew was scheduled for a minor (well, relatively minor - I'm not sure any type of brain surgery is minor!) surgical procedure. An Ommaya reservoir was going to be implanted so that the cystic portion of Matt's tumor could be drained. The surgery was scheduled for 1 hour and then we were going to be allowed to go home 24-48 hours after surgery. Warren, Matt, Jake and I headed down to Salt Lake yesterday to meet with the neurosurgeon and also have an oncology clinic visit. We had a nice evening and stayed the night with Carolyn and Lee so we could be to the hospital at 6:30 a.m. this morning.
We arrived at the hospital, Matt had a CT scan and was whisked into surgery rather quickly. We were in the waiting room at 8:30 - which was a first, for sure! We were happy and not surprised when Dr.Walker (our neurosurgeon) showed up around 9:30. We thought the surgery was finished. Well, the news was not exactly what we had anticipated! Apparently, when Dr.Walker went to insert the catheter portion of the reservoir, the cyst collapsed. This was not a dangerous complication or anything, it just meant that the surgery didn't work and that the cyst would continue to fill with fluid and Matt's ventricles would continue to be blocked, putting him at a great risk for hydrocephalus.
Dr. Walker gave us 3 options. We could either end the surgery then, try putting a larger scope in the hole Dr.Walker had already made, or perform a full craniotomy. It was a rush of emotion as we hurriedly weighed the options and ultimately decided that the craniotomy was the thing we would do. Dr. Walker was leaning that way, and I really respect his opinion! He also hoped that we might be able to remove a bit more tumor.
Matthew was in surgery for another SIX hours. Let me tell you that if we had known what today was going to turn out like, we certainly wouldn't have brought our 8 month old baby! Jake is a trooper and an absolute doll, but he doesn't 'do' waiting rooms for hours on end!
When Dr. Walker finally came out after surgery, he was practically beaming. From this different angle (Matt's first incision was right across the front of his head. This new incision begins on the right side of his incision - your left - and continues on to the back of his head, making almost a 90 degree angle with the first incision) Dr. Walker was able to completely remove the cyst, and also remove a large portion of tumor! We were beyond thrilled and Warren said, "I have never felt so happy in this place!" I totally felt the same way! This gives us a large chunk of tumor to send to different pathologists, and hopefully the tumor will be easier to measure without the large cyst making the MRI's difficult to read. Dr. Walker also said that the cyst was much more tumor than it appeared on the MRI. I am so happy they were able to remove so much!
Tomorrow will be an exciting day because Matt has an MRI. We will be able to get a good look at exactly how much of the tumor Dr.Walker was able to remove.
Tonight, Matt is doing well. When we first went into the PICU to see him, I asked him how he felt. He opened his eyes and said with a clear, strong voice, "I feel like crud!" It made me laugh.
So, now we work through our modified plan. Our 1 hour surgery + 1-2 day hospital stay has morphed into a 7 hour surgery + 1-2 days in ICU with 5-8 days in the hospital after that! However, if this surgery resulted in a significant resection, it is totally worth it!