Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Little (BIG) Bump in the road to recovery

It's amazing how fast things can change.  Life's ups and downs that can sometimes hit you hard upside the head without fully understanding the reasons why?
Last week we had our follow up appointment with the surgeon and our medical oncologist.  For the most part this meeting went very well.  We were prescribed the chemo medication sutent and found out that although the surgery went very well they did find a blood clot deep in the vein in her left leg.  To combat this and ensure that the clot did not come loose and travel to the heart they prescribed an inject-able blood thinner called Fragmin (Detaparin).  
We started both Sutent and the blood thinners on Friday and overall had a really good weekend.  Ian cooked a beautiful Roast Chicken Dinner on Saturday night and we have some visitors over.  Sunday was another good day and mum headed out for coffee and even bought herself a new leather desk chair to complete her show room.  Monday she woke up feeling tired and not quite right.  The side effects that we had been informed of really started to kick in.  They were severe and she had "the worst headache she ever had in her life".  Finally we decided that we couldn't wait any longer and took her to TGH via ambulance to see what was going on.  They re-hydrated her and gave her some medicine to help with the nausea and headache however nothing was helping.  They ordered a CT scan on her head to see why she was having such a severe headache.  
The results were a complete shock.  A tumour in the brain (back of her head near the neck) that had been bleeding.  This area of the brain is responsible for your balance, vision, speech and can often make you feel nauseous if there is a problem back there.   The next part all feels like a bit of a blur as they transferred her to the Neurological Critical Care Unit at Toronto Western Hospital to meet with a neurosurgeon.  We were unsure of exactly what to expect next.  They scheduled an MRI to better see the picture of the brain.  There they confirmed that the tumour was the size of a golf ball and had been bleeding, there is also a secondary tumour that they found on her brain (near the top of her head) but this one is quite small.  
The reason  for the bleeding in the brain is due to the blood thinners that we had been prescribed.  We are now not taking the blood thinners anymore and instead the doctors have inserted a filter (kind of like a net) in her heart to ensure that if the clot does break off it would be blocked by the filter.  
The neurosurgeon suggested that we go through with a surgery called a craniotomy as the best case scenario to remove the tumour along with the effects that it was causing.  It was really our only option in order to continue on.  This has  been a difficult decision  but one in which Nancy and our entire family agreed would be the best choice for her.  
I am happy to inform everyone that although we haven't got to see Mum yet that the surgery was successful and she is now being monitored and recovering in the step down unit before we can see her. 

The positives through all this have been that although the blood thinners caused the bleeding in the brain, and we've had to do this last minute emergency surgery at least we found the tumor when it was small enough to operate on.  Recovery of this type of surgery is not that bad either.  Probably only a few days of headaches so nothing like the major pain of the last surgery.

We are taking everyday at a time and looking forward to seeing her smiling face and getting her home soon.

Lots of love to all
Keryn and family

1 comment:

  1. Nancy thinking of you every day here in London. I can't quite believe what you are going through. It will all get better soon. Love to you all from Michael, Andy and Sascha. M xxxx