Thursday, June 29, 2006 - evening

[photo: frameless stereotactic brain surgery using image guidance system]

Surgery is scheduled for first thing tomorrow (Friday) morning – starting between 7:30-8:00 am. It will be performed by Dr. Andrews in Mike’s current building (JHN at 900 Walnut). I will wait in the waiting room on the 6th floor just opposite the elevators we always take up to see Mike. Feel free to join me, but only if you bring me chocolate, trashy mags, or vanilla coffee (with milk and sugar).

Andrews is going in from the left – but not through a craniotomy. (Thank gosh). He’ll be doing a stereotactic drainage (frameless) using an image guidance system – guiding a catheter to the cyst through the left side. There will be only a small incision, and he’ll use a teflon device as well as a GPS-like system to map the exact trajectory and depth needed for the procedure.

It should be a short procedure, but there are still risks – not likely risks, but large risks all the same. Andrews described the potential risks including: encountering the vp shunt and causing bleeding, having trouble piercing the cyst and causing more damage midbrain, as well as some potentially “catastrophic” consequences involving the major arteries adjacent to the cyst.

All that is to say that even though it’s straightforward, once again – it is brain surgery.

Last night the decision was made along with Dr. Evans to not do the craniotomy. Since Evans is the only one who has been in Mike's head with everything opened up, Andrews says he really takes into account what Evans has experienced. Since that last open craniotomy was such a “harrowing” experience, Evans did not support the idea of another craniotomy. His take, with which Andrews now agrees, is, “save the craniotomy on the left for when we absolutely have to open up to get inside.”

At the end of our 5 minute phone conversation, I said, "I’m also calling to make sure you’re not out having too much fun because you have an early morning surgery tomorrow." He told me he was behaving himself and seemed amused by the statement. I asked if he got calls like that all the time, from anxious spouses making sure he was getting a good night’s sleep before surgery. He said, “Well, yes. But, you’re special.” I like that.

In the event that this procedure does “the trick,” Andrews does not expect some sudden “Mike is back” moment to occur immediately post-op. No matter what, the damage to the midbrain region needs to continue to heal – and that area will likely be aggravated by tomorrow’s surgery. I’m saying this for my own benefit as well as everyone else’s...Let’s not get discouraged if next week Mike is looking quite a bit like he looks right now. It may take time for the relief of the pressure to have a positive impact on his neurological functions.

Ok. A quick note to whatever it is that makes good things happen to good people - be it God, the sun, or just charma -

Dear powerful thing whose existence has been in question since I studied political philosphy in college:

If you have been listening to the many people who love Mike, you know that we'd like him back to play. We know it's possible. It would be one of the most life-affirming moments of our lifetimes if, as a result of this procedure tomorrow, Mike has the opportunity to live a life of autonomy and watch his son grow up.
And quite frankly, Mike getting well could simply put the last nail in cynicism's coffin.

And yes, I realize you may not read blogs - particularly if you are, in fact, the sun - because if you're the sun, then you probably don't have internet access. But in the event that you do...

Please bring Mike back.



Anonymous said...

Our prayers are with you, Mike, and the entire surgical team. We are thinking of you constantly. God Bless.

Love, Jae & family

Anonymous said...

Love and good thoughts to you, Mike and Bax and a strong nudge to whatever that "power" bigger than us is, to take good care of Mike, you all have more than passed the test and deserve only the best from now on.

Anonymous said...

Lots of good thoughts/prayers coming to Mike, you & Bax from Delaware.
Jenny L.

Anonymous said...

God still owes me over a $100 million from the last surgery. I told him I'd offer him double or nothing, but he said he couldn't cover it and to talk to Warren Buffet since he is in such a giving mood lately.

So that's good news, Gods going to come through this time I feel it. All the best.

Kirk and Angela

Jalena said...

On a lighter note, Jae and family are anonymous, Robin is anonymous, Jenny L. and Kirk and Angela are anonymous. Just how many anonymous frieds DO you have?? Ok, so I'm a little antsy waiting to hear how things are going so I tend to look for stupid things while waiting!!!

Jalena said...

Typing 101 would help. Thats friends not frieds!!!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and Mike this moment...and hoping (and praying, just in case) that all goes well.


Peter said...

Go, Andrews, go!
Go, Mike, go!