What a relief! Surgery is over!! The first words out of Kris Smith's mouth were "I have good and bad news" - well, we're tired of bad news so we held our breath for a moment; but then he proceeded to tell us there was NO TUMOR. Hallelujah!! We just about hugged this surgeon we were so happy; but we had to settle with shaking his hand and holding his arm tightly.... It's amazing how you can hear bad news about infection but really think that it is good news because you have no tumor. I hate the word TUMOR. So, about the tumor; then on to the infection. I'm not a doctor; so I'll do my best. Too bad one of our doctor friends aren't here to help me write this.... but here goes.
They sent at least 4 samples of the tissue to the lab during surgery. The white stuff on the scan is indeed radiation necrosis. He did find some tumor cells in the tissues he sent in; but they were DYING; not alive and doing anything - so yea for radiation, chemo, and all this junk Tara has gone through; it appears to have worked! Do you have ANY idea how many prayers I have offered praying that those treatments will work inside my daughter's head??? I still pray those cells don't ever come back. We will try alternative treatments once Tara is finished with her chemo schedule to counter attack those cells for the future.
The infection: Dr. Smith said it was good we operated today; even waiting until the end of the week would not have been good. All your specific prayers for the BONE have been heard - her bone was not infected; so that is really good because now they don't have to introduce a foreign substance into her head such as a titanium something that resembles bone. That means she doesn't have to wear a helmet; live without a bone; etc. But, the infection was in two places - it was underneath her bone plate - which explains why she had no pain or fever and he found it in two seperate spots; so Dr. Smith reiterated again how wonderful it was that the operation was sooner rather than later. The infection is very serious; but Dr. Smith has seen this before and has had much success treating it. I guess that's the bad news - that the infection is in two spots. (Sorry, italics again and Nate's not here to remind me how to turn them off - he's playing his last basketball game of the season with no fans.... he'll probably score 20 points since we're not there!) Tara will be treated with a "drain and feed" (I think those are the words) system. She will have FOUR catheters in her head - it may be scary to see how her head looks for awhile! 2 catheters will drain the infection; and 2 will push antibiotics in her brain. She will have to have IV antibiotics for awhile - not sure how long at this point or if that involves going to the hospital many times a week or not. We're just going as I said, day by day, right now. He said she'll be in the hospital at least 5 days because they are going to watch this infection closely. She will be in ICU for 24-48 hours; so no visitors for a few days. I will let you know when she feels up to visitors - (or she will!)
Thank you all so much for your prayers - they have been heard and we are so very grateful for our blessings. We are happy they can treat this infection and our daughter is not in a life threatening position. She will get through the pain of recovery; and it's all worth it to get rid of that puss in her head!!! Thank you all for everything you send our way, love, text, emails, prayers, and countless offers of help. I do call when I need something - just ask my neighbor who had to drop everything when I forgot a ride for Nate....
I will try to post everyday..... love you all so much ! Even the ones I don't know!!! We are so blessed!