Monday, July 21, 2008

Neurosurgeon Update

Back from the neurosurgeon. I am very happy to report that he is much better than the neurologist. The neurosurgeon didn't know who the neurologist was - just that he was a new resident.

Tanner’s cyst is large for a cyst in this area – but not atypical of other cysts that they see in the brain. The cyst is pressing on part of the brain (maybe it was brain stem) that controls visual stuff – but since Tanner doesn’t seem to have any visual problems, he thinks that it has been that way for a very long time. He said if this stuff happens young enough – kids tend to compensate for it, and he thinks that may be the case with Tanner. The cyst is not blocking the channel for cerebral fluid between the ventricles. As long as it does not grow, does not cause any hydrocephalus, or vision problems – then we’ll continue to monitor it.

We’re doing a follow-up MRI in 3 months. He was going to do it in 6 months, but this cyst didn’t show on previous ultrasounds (from Tanner's NICU stay) – so he is concerned that it may still be growing. So – we’ll do a follow-up MRI in 3 months (mid-October). If Tanner develops any other symptoms that it may be growing (dizziness, unexplained vomiting, vision changes, hearing issues, or headaches), then we’ll be back at his office for some kind of treatment (probably surgical).

He said that typically they don’t “remove” the cyst – they drain it by puncturing multiple holes in the side of it so that it doesn’t reinflate later on. Access to the cyst is typically by ERCP through the nasal passages.

And, a final note – he doesn’t think that this is cancerous. It doesn’t display any of the classical signs of a cancerous tumor, so he said he was “very, very certain” that it wasn’t cancerous. However, they can’t be 100% certain unless they do a biopsy.

I was kind of hoping that the MRI could be after Disney trip in December, but that would be 5 months – so we’ll probably aim for mid-October. The good news is that we’ll do the MRI first thing on a Monday morning – and then we’ll see the neurosurgeon later that morning for a follow-up. We’ll know something that same day (which makes me very happy).

St. Louis called this afternoon - they agree with the diagnosis from the Denver doctor. They were even willing to let us go up to 6 months without follow-up. They also believe that the dizziness is not related to this cyst - and it was found incidentally.

Thank you for the prayers and continued support.


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Thank God it doesn't look cancerous. Good luck.

Amy said...

I'm thrilled for your family at the prognosis.

My mother had a non-cancerous tumor in her brain that was discovered after she began slurring one day out of the blue. Funny thing? The doctors say the (isolated, one-time)slurring had nothing to do with the tumor. But it was what led her to the hospital to have an MRI, where it was discovered. Her doctors told her the same thing (can't be 100% sure, would bet it was non-cancerous). She went in for MRIs every 6 months, and there was never any growth. After many, many years, she finally decided to have it removed, as it sat on the transverse sinus vein and could eventually cause problems. Docs were right, and she's been great.

So glad your news is happy news.