Yes, that’s a tumor. It has taken up temporary residence in my husband’s brain, but will be evicted on October 14, Lord willing.
I have long felt that this experience should be recorded, and have left it up to my husband to do…however, I realize that maybe my point of view would be worth remembering, too. So, here it is.
He has experienced hearing loss on his right side for a while…not exactly sure how long, but it’s definitely been gradual. Over a year, maybe two. Early this year, February, I think, he went to our general practitioner and got it checked out. He was told it could be swelling due to sinus infection, some sort of fluid trapped, etc. Was prescribed steroids and an antihistamine (over $100 for medicines that didn’t do a thing. eek).
When it became evident that the medicine wasn’t making a difference, we requested a referral to an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat specialist, or otolaryngologist), who ordered an MRI (from which we obtained the above image). We were told that it was probably an acoustic neuroma. Non-cancerous (Praise God!) and, though dangerous because of its location, not life-threatening if removed. It was now May 12th, and our daughter, Eliza, was due to arrive two days later.
I should mention here that God is good. So good that He, knowing that we’d have to face this, gave my husband’s mom, a nurse, a job working for a neurosurgeon–that is, the kind of doctor that operates on and specializes in brain tumors. She has worked there for approximately 15 years. The Lord plans ahead.
Our amazing God also provided Wes a job that offers benefits, precisely when we needed it. He was hired by his present employer at just the right time for us to qualify for health insurance for my pregnancy with Eliza. We chose the plan that offered the best coverage for maternity, which incidentally offers great coverage for brain tumors. We had no idea at the time what a blessing this would be.
Back to May 12:
One look at the MRI and we knew it was a tumor (as you can see). An appointment was made with the neurosurgeon here in Knoxville, Dr. David Hauge (mother-in-law’s boss). This man took extra time studying the images, discerned that radiation was not a good idea due to its size and placement (considered ‘very large’ at 3cm in diameter, and pressing against the brain stem), and he recommend a team from Vanderbilt in Nashville to do the surgery. Dr. Hauge stated that if it were he with the tumor, he would go to this team: Dr. Reid Thompson and Dr. Haynes. He also personally called Dr. Thompson’s office to discuss our case and refer us.
Eliza was born perfect on May 14, and she helped to take our minds off the tumor for a bit. 🙂
In the beginning of June, we went to Nashville for our consultation with Drs Thompson and Haynes, who were extremely kind and answered every question that came to mind. It was not a typical ‘appointment’ day for Dr Haynes, who came to talk to us in between surgeries. We were very much relieved to have their seasoned counsel regarding our situation. They were both very surprised to hear how little Wes’s symptoms had affected his daily life. With a tumor this size, apparently, a patient is usually much older and is experiencing much stronger effects, like facial weakness (where the nerve on the affected side of the brain is stressed, causing drooping on that side of the face), balance problems, swallowing problems, etc.
I must here again give all credit to God, who directs our path, whose mercy is everlasting, whose truth endures forever, and whose faithfulness is great. It is because of His mercy that we are not in a much worse situation. It is His lovingkindness that has prevented any further problems to this point. We trust Him.
We accept this experience knowing that God is in control. Regardless of what happens. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and His plan is perfect. He does not love us any less today because we have this tumor to deal with. His Word is true, and we stand on it.
I will admit that my stomach does somersaults at the thought of the day in October when this surgery is scheduled. My heart aches for him that his hearing on the right side will be completely gone (at least until we are able to get a BAHA, which should be an option later on). I don’t want to see him in pain, or helpless, even temporarily. I feel like I’m poorly prepared for all this, and it’s advancing like a freight train.
But I have full confidence that as He sees fit, and in His perfect way, God will bring us through this.
So, there’s a little of my perspective… thanks for reading. 🙂