Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Not a Tumor...Or Is It?

Back on February 3rd I went in for my routine MRI and 6 month doctor visit at Huntsman Cancer Institute.  I felt great and had no inclination that my test would come back abnormal. As I waited in the room I was surprised when my PA pulled up my scans and a bright white spot showed up at the bottom of my brain. I believe he was as well. I  had absolutely no symptoms. No headaches or balance issues, as this was the area of the brain to which it would indicate problems. I was bewildered, but because my doctors had been honest with me from the beginning of my first tumor about the "when" it comes back, not "if" scenario, I wasn't shocked at the thought that I had a new tumor. I knew it was always a possibility someday. I guess that someday, was now.  My doctors wanted to run some more tests to make sure it was indeed a tumor. They scheduled two more scans for the following week. I left knowing I had to make some difficult phone calls to my family. I couldn't reach Cody, he was with patients, but contacted my parents and siblings. None of which were happy about the news. 
The following week I went in for a PET scan and MRI perfusion. Both long MRI's. I snapped this shot of my arm while the tech was out of the room. It was an extremely boring scan with no stimulation. No music, I usually get to listen to Pandora, no reading (I thought I'd get to read a book), no talking, just my thoughts and I. I did a lot of praying during those 2 days of scans. 
 I had to follow these signs to get to my perfusion scan at the University Hospital the next night. Who schedules MRI's at 6:30 pm? It took 3 people 7 pokes to get an IV in my small deep veins in order to get the contrast in my system. Lucky me!
 2 days later I went back in for my results. The verdict, Dr. Colman wasn't certain that my spot was a tumor. It might be a blood clot/stroke. Let's wait 4 weeks and see what happens to it. You've got to be kidding me. I did wait, but contacted my neurosurgeon Dr. Gardner in the meantime for a 2nd opinion. By the time I was able to get him my scans I had already had my 4 week followup MRI. My spot had grown a little bit, but not enough for Dr. Colman to come to a conclusion. 
Dr. Gardner suggested I get an MRI Spectroscopy and a perfusion scan done. After those scans were complete he concluded that it was indeed a tumor and we scheduled surgery for Thursday, March 26th. I felt great about putting Dr. Gardner in charge of my life. He succeeded once before in removing my tumor and putting me on the road to recovery and I knew he would do it again. He remembered me and surprisingly the neuroradiologist remembered me too as the girl from Heber. I think it's great that I have a slew of highly skilled doctors all over the state.

I had planned on shaving my head completely, but Angela, my nurse from 3 years ago and still one of Dr. Gardner's nurse practitioners informed me that I only needed to shave from the top of one ear to the top of the other. Cody did the honors for me. I didn't want a nurse tech at the hospital to do it for me, so we had a shaving party at the house the night before. I asked one of my friends, Colene Anderson to take photos for us. She did a great job. Tucker and Blake were excited to shave their heads but we had to wrestle Cole to cut his hair. I wanted to do things differently this time around and that included having my boys shave their heads for their Momma. He refused to go as short. Mickey and Cerola came up to be with us.

Blake wanted a mo-hawk so we did one for a moment, and then shaved it all off. 
 Love my little guy.

Apparently this is a style!
 I looked too normal in the picture so I turned around.

 Our colorful concoction of family hair. The dark stuff is Grandpa Calderwoods.

 The night before my first surgery I had all my family who were priesthood holders give me a family blessing. My older brother was going to be out of town the day of my surgery so we gathered at my parents home the Sunday before and I asked for a family blessing then. I'm very grateful for the power of the priesthood and the blessings that I received from the prayers and fasting held in my behalf.