UPDATE - 6/17/2016

Again: Not meant to be impersonal. This is just an update. I probably won't update again unless things change.

I headed over to Stanford again today. This was a follow-up from surgery and from the biopsy that I mentioned below.

Screwing around at the office  

Screwing around at the office

 

I'm quite familiar with the ENT routine. Three puffs of gross anesthetic/decongestant up the nose holes followed by a few Werther's Originals to kill the flavor. I had a quick photo session with the endoscope and we looked at my upper sinuses and the base of my brain. The tumor is still there, but it is behaving. The pictures look the same as they did after the first surgery.

The collective decision was to wait on further surgery at this time. So, like I said before, we will monitor the tumor every three months for changes. If it starts growing or expanding, I'll get new CT/MRI scans and we will plan at that time whether or not we go to the OR for a full removal or just another simple removal in the office again. The best part is I get a day trip to Stanford 4x/year.

Answered Prayer:
- It didn't grow and so far it's not aggressive.
- The surgery was successful and everything looks good.
- No more surgery right now. No downtime. 
- This is one LESS thing to deal with right now. 

For those that love details, Check out this webpage This gives a good overview with great You Tube videos. This page talks about tumors. Even though mine is benign, this page details how the location makes removal tricky.

- Fletch

 


UNEXPECTED NEWS - 5/15/2016

Disclaimer: This isn't meant to be impersonal. I just don't have everyone's email or phone numbers, so creating a page/link was the easiest way to share all of this information at once. 

Hey gang! I haven't been really good at giving out information, so this will get everyone in the loop at once.

My specialist at Stanford just contacted me (Sunday night - seriously, this is the best care I’ve ever received). He had some unexpected news from the surgical procedure and biopsy I had done last week in his office. Not horrible, just unexpected.

Yellow outline of Long skinny tumor

As you may or may not know, I had a large tissue growth removed from my left sinus last week. Dr. Whang (for any of you that read things phonetically, it's pronounced Wong...that should take care of my friends that like to be silly like me) removed the majority of that growth last Friday(5/6/16). See the scan on the left.

The surgery was super easy. I stayed awake and because it had been diagnosed previously by biopsy as a benign non-tumor, we chose to leave a small percent of the growth behind. If you look on the scan, you will see this growth starts very high in my nasal cavity and attaches to the bone at the base of my brain. By not removing all of the growth, the surgery was less traumatic and not as risky because the bone between my sinus and brain is very thin. I was totally cool with that decision! 

It was pretty gnarly as I watched Dr. Whang pull this large mass out of my nostril. Because of it's size and appearance, the doctor chose to do one more biopsy on this giant mass just to confirm the results from the previous biopsy. We thought we were just going through the motions.

Today’s results were UNEXPECTED.

As it turns out, I have a very rare nasal sinus tumor (I'll spare you the medical name). The good news is that it is still benign, but these tumors can act very aggressively. They can become cancerous/malignant (invade other tissues adjacent) if they are left untreated or portions of them are allowed to remain. Essentially, the cells in my nasal/sinus lining are fired up and want to grow every direction at once. At this point and prior to the initial surgery, we were happy this tumor grew down my sinonasal cavity and not up into my brain! 

What does this mean? Because we left part of it behind, I will eventually have to go into the OR for a complete removal of the entire growth/tumor remaining. This is the aggressive surgery I was trying to avoid the first time around. It will involve "getting good margins" around the tumor. This means bone removal between my brain/sinus (grafting/patching) and portions of the olfactory nerve bed alongside the walls of my nasal/sinus cavity (no smell). Thankfully, this does not require that I undergo radiation/chemotherapy, which would be required with a malignant tumor.

The plan is for me to go back to Stanford next month and take pictures and compare them to the surgical photos from last week. Then we will track the remaining tumor every three months until it starts to grow again or looks aggressive. When that happens I will have a new round of CT scans/MRIs and then schedule surgery at Stanford to remove the remaining tumor, bone and inside wall of my sinus. We watch and wait.

If you are inclined to pray:

  • Praising God this is not cancer.
  • Pray that my tumor is the non-aggresive type.
  • I’m not fearful, just bummed to have surgery/down-time.
  • It’s weird to have something growing in your skull that you can’t control. Pray for my humility, patience and peace as I go through scopes, scans and surgery all over again.
  • It's just one more thing. Kendra and I are really sick of the "one more thing" because there seems to be a lot of "one more things" in our life lately.

Thanks, Fletch