Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Neurosurgeon

So why, you may ask, would a lovely young woman like myself be in the exam room of one of the top neurosurgeons in the world today? Well, this little story begins about six months ago.  Please, sit back, relax and enjoy knowing it has a happy ending.

Remember when I was suffering through chemotherapy last summer?  Well, I'm trying to forget the whole ordeal, but the scar on my left cheek is a painful reminder.  Five days after my second infusion of Adriamycin/Cytocin, aka The Red Death, my white cells dropped as hard as I did on the bathroom floor about 3am on the morning of Nick's 40th birthday.  I was deemed neutropenic, meaning I had NO white blood cells left, and was admitted to St. Joe's hospital for four days of antibiotics, potato chips and Millionaire Matchmaker. My fall left me with an ugly cut on my cheek and the need for a CT scan to make sure I didn't rattle my brain too hard. That first scan showed something unusual, which scared the shit out of me, so I had a second more indepth scan.  Here's how I found out what they discovered.

About 2am on my third day in the hospital, I was alone in my little room with just the light of the Bravo Network illuminating my bald head.  In walks this giant of a neurologist in a lab coat.  He stands over my bed and proceeds to tell me that my scan revealed a small 2mm aneurysm in my brain.  It was so flipping surreal, that I wasn't even sure it happened.  The next morning, my oncologist, Dr. Wendt, came to visit me and confirmed that yes, a huge brain doctor was in my room last night and he did tell me that I have an aneurysm. YIKES! But, he said, it truly was small and should be the least of my worries at the time.  Somehow, that was comforting.  And, that we wouldn't address it until after my cancer treatments were complete.

So, fast forward to my most recent visit to my oncologist.  I bring up, "um... should we be concerned about that brain aneurysm thing?" Oh yes, I am told.  It's time to see a neurosurgeon.  And not just any neurosurgeon.  He was getting me into see Dr. Spetzler, the Director of Barrow Neurological Institute.  This is the guy that kings and queens from around the world travel to see for any brain issues. Should I be worried or relieved that this guy is the best of the best?  

When I asked my oncologist as to what he thought Dr. Spetzler might recommend, I was told it could go either way.  He may say let's just keep an eye on it, or let's take care of it.  Take care of it?  Yes, brain surgery.  

So, to make a long story endless (one of Nick's favorite quotes), I met with Dr. Spetzler today and received the news we were praying for.  My 1-2mm aneurysm has a less than 1% chance of bursting so they want to leave it alone.  I'll be scanned annually to make sure it isn't growing, but it sounds like they don't expect it to do so.  I was told to stay away from cigarettes, crack cocaine (really!), child birth (glad I had C-Sections) and hypertension (high blood pressure).  For some reason I asked if roller coasters would be ok, and they are, but it kinda sounds like a logical question, doesn't it?

So why is this the first time I'm mentioning this aneurysm if we've known about it since June?  I guess it was a little denial and a lot of terror.  If we didn't talk about it, maybe it would really just be nothing. Looks like our insane plan worked.  Thank God!

So that's todays little story.  More than you bargained for, huh? Us too.  We are just so beyond relieved that all we have to worry about now is that pesky cancer.  Easy peasy.



  1. Thank you for sharing that the story had a happy ending a the beginning of the posting...I don't think my heart could have taken it if I didn't know the happy ending doll! Can't wait to see you soon! Sending you hugs & kisses!

  2. virginia Green BranscomJanuary 21, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    We are all heaving a collective sigh of relief!!! Thank you, aneurysm angels! And thank you, Kristin, for letting us know...XOXO V.

  3. THANK GOODNESS you can still go on roller coasters!!!!!

    ;) xoxo

  4. Ummm wow! I know a few people now walking around with these.....maybe we all are?! How in the heck did you think to ask about roller coasters?
    You continue to amaze me girl!
    Love, Court

  5. One of my favorite responses to these little stories and episodes is....WTF?

    Please dear more doctor stories... the only crazy story I want to hear is that you bought the winning lottery ticket last can only hope!

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