Henry's Blog

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Brief History, Part III: Lamar Reveals Himself

Sunday, August 6 (about 10:30 am):
At the emergency room, they were able to perform a Cat scan, since one had already been authorized by our Doctor for the next day.

The ER Doctor was direct: He has a brain tumor. It is big. Call your family.

Since there are no pediatric neurologists at home, the ER called Savannah. Henry was to be sent by ambulance immediately to Memorial Health Hospital.

By 1pm we were admitted into the Pediatric ICU, and Henry was scheduled for a full MRI.

[All right, so this "brief history" is not so brief. I'll cut to the chase and update when I get a chance - Dad]

Monday, August 7:
We met our Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. T. Even without a diagnosis, it was agreed that surgery was necessary. Dr. T explained that the tumor was located in a very delicate area, and that the surgery posed particular risks to the nerves controlling facial movements, shoulder muscles and swallowing. The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, August 9.

Henry said: "I should name my tumor." What do you think it's name should be? "Lamar," he said.

In the cartoon show Camp Lazlo, the character Lazlo gets a leech attached to his head while swimming in the lake. He decides that the leech is his best friend and refuses to remove him, even as the leech grows larger and leaves Lazlo weaker. Lazlo names the leech Lamar.

Wednesday, August 9:
At about 9:00 am Henry was taken to the ER. It took about three hours to set up the computer for the "stealth" brain scan guidance system, and then two hours for prepping and installing the shunt (to drain excess spinal fluid). The cranial surgery began at about 2pm, and the nurse called at midnight to tell us that they had begun closing.

At 2:30 am, Henry was wheeled to his room in the Pediatric ICU, and we met with Dr. T. The tumor was very sticky and entangled in brain tissue and blood vessels in the left hemisphere of the cerebellum. Dr. T felt that he had removed 80 to 85% of the tumor without any neurological damage to Henry.

Thursday August 10:
Initial exams showed that Henry came through the surgery quite well, although he felt bad, with particularly bad nausea (!). He suffered some double vision and it was an effort to speak, but he could speak quite clearly if he wanted to.

The Pathology report confirmed a diagnosis of grade 2 lateral emendymoma, a rare, slow growing tumor. Grade 2 is a "mostly" benign classification for what is technically a malignant tumor. The lateral qualifier means that it is angled off-center to the left, causing it to be more entrenched into brain tissue and blood pathways.

Next, Part IV: Now What?


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