What The Brain Surgeon Says

The appointment Neil and I had long awaited finally arrived. We went to the offices of my doctor beside Vancouver General Hospital.  He is a Cranial Base and Vascular Microneurosurgeon. If that sounds involved, well I can tell you it is.   All around his office was state of the art technology that he uses to do his work.   In front of us, on the desk,  was a life-like replica of the human skull; and off to the side large computer screens with various images of my skull and brain.

As we sat down at the desk in front of him, the neurosurgeon explained that he just found another tumor in the last five minutes as he was  looking through the MRI images on the computer screen. This new tumor is on my brain stem and is found in an area of the brain that controls fine motor skills and alot of important functions of the body. As with the first tumor, this tumor would also have to be removed in a 9 hour operation. This tumor is called an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma.  Surgery, the doctor explained would be very difficult (as with the first one).   Death could result during or immediately following the surgery.

It took the surgeon two and a half hours to explain all of the possible risks associated with both tumors and even then he ran out of time.   Here is a little list of the risks involved ( a 5% chance):

a) Stroke from blood vessel injury, leading to paralysis on the left side of my body or possibly death;

b) Loss of feeling and sensation on my face (cranial nerve 5) or total paralysis of my face;

c)Loss of the ability to swallow (cranial nerve 9, 10 and 11).  I  would have to be fed through a feeding tube if this happened for a period of one to two years;

d) Brain fluid leaking out of my nose requiring a shunt in my spinal cord to allow for proper drainage;

e) My eyes not being able to close and having to tape them shut at night and further surgery putting weights in my eyelids to allow them to close;

f) Vision loss in my right eye;

g) Hearing loss in my left ear;

h) Nerve injury to my face and losing the ability to speak or smile;

i) Reconstructive surgery to replace all of the bone in my eye socket;

j) Loss of lateral eye-movement (cranial nerve 6) or uneven eyes which would require surgery to balance them at a later date;

k) Loss of taste;

l) Infection immediately following surgery.  Types of infections would be meningitis or pnemonia which could very quickly become fatal.  This would likely happen while still in the hospital recovering from surgery; and

m) Chronic headaches, chronic dizziness; and a constant ringing (buzzing) in my ear, etc., etc.

I have the option of radiation therapy or surgery.  The meningioma would require both.  The first surgery for the meningioma is called a craniotomy and orbital osteotomy for tumor with reconstruction. The second surgery for the acoustic neuroma is called a rectosigmoid.  Surgery he explained would be very dangerous. For both surgeries there will be two or three neurosurgeons, 1 ocular surgeon, 1 reconstructive plastic surgeon, and one cancer specialist present and alot of other people including the aenesthesiologist. That would be 7 doctors and who knows how many nurses.  Both surgeries will have to be done seperately, with the one for the meningioma behind my eye being done within about six months.  The other tumor will be monitored and done at a later date.

Now to the part that I want to get to! I laid it out so that you could get a sense of the magnitude of what lay ahead in the world's eyes. As I sat and listened to all of this for 2-1/2 hours, I can tell you honestly that I was not anxious for anything. All I could think about was how thankful I was to be in my Father's hands.  I know I am healed.  I cannot tell you the relief I have knowing that all is in God's control and I can find comfort in the fact that His plan for my life is absolutely perfect.  What do I have to worry about then!  Oh how happy I am, for I know that God is at work.  I do not believe that God intended any of us to be sick, and that Satan would just love to steal and sabotage the good work that the Lord has begun in us.  My God has far bigger plans and Jesus says that we will do greater things than He did while he walked with us.  I know this is true.  I have prayed for all the sickness to leave my body.  Amen!  Do you believe with me that it has been done?  If you read through the list of risks, I believe that Satan would like to shut me up!  Praise God, that the God who I serve and who has started a good work in me will see it through to completion!

I do believe it has been done, although I do not know howHe will go about healing me.  If I had my choice, I would of course ask that I would never have to end up on the operating table. If that should be the route I take, though, then I also know that God will bring full healing to my body through surgery.  I prayed before the appointment that God would give me the courage and strength to ask for another MRI before surgery is done. Why on earth would I want them to saw through my skull if they don't need to! I asked the Neurosurgeon if another MRI could be done before surgery. Without asking any questions, he immediately agreed,  provided that the surgery takes place about 6 months after my last MRI.   My last MRI was done in September 2008, so praise God, it will be done.  Do you see how wonderfully God works?

God is so faithful. I am so awed by how he always goes ahead and prepares the way.  As a constant reminder that God is able and that he is real, I am about to tell you about the biggest miracle in my life that happened to me last April 2008.  For years I had been praying, begging and pleading with God that He would deliver me from the addiction of smoking.  This has caused me so much shame over the years and was such a thorn in my side.  Even I had almost given up on this one.  It would be an absolute miracle!

HE HAS PERFORMED A MIRACLE IN MY LIFE!!  I have been set FREE!  The victory is found in JESUS.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  It was the resurrection power of Jesus that set me free.  I can't believe myself that I was able to quit without the aid of pills or patches.  God showed me that when He does a work in our lives that HE IS SUFFICIENT.   HE IS ALL I NEED.  WOW!  What a MIRACLE he has performed in me. The impossible was made possible thru GOD. I praise Him everyday for His faithfulness.  Can you see how in His goodness, he let me know long before I had any idea that I was sick, that HE IS IN COMPLETE CONTROL.  I can rest in Him knowing this.  The hold that the smoking had on my life is indescribable, and I will say it again, that it is only a MIRACLE THAT FREED ME!  No other explanation is possible.

Now I cannot be held back in shame any longer; a place where Satan loved to have me, because I HAVE BEEN SET FREE.  The spiritual battle in the heavenlies began in earnest that day in April 2008 when I received this miracle; but through Christ WE HAVE THE VICTORY, even in sickness. I believe it has been done already.  Please join me in thanking God for what he is doing.  I CAN SEE GOD AT WORK!  The miracles are not finished yet!  I sense that time is very precious and short.  God will enable us.  God will raise us up.  God will set us free.  Gods plan will be done!  PRAISE GOD.  Even at this time in my life, God has given me a peace that passes all understanding, a joy in serving Him, and a love that fills my soul.  I am ready for anything that God has planned for my life because He has enabled me.  I can only stand in awe of His great love for each and every one of us.  What a wonderful God I serve!  I am resting in Him.

Catch the up-date posted below this picture.

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Reader Comments (3)

Hi Sylvia,
I am following your journey with much interest and intercession in prayer. You are an inspiration to me and many others! May God continue to supply you with His grace, peace and joy for the journey. This is my prayer for you.

January 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene Rohr

Sylvia, I am so excited! Our God is doing one of thos ..."and suddenly........." We will have a time of intense prayer with you before your next MRI.........and leave the results to our God!

Can't wait to see what He has planned for you!

February 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette Denny

Indeed we do serve an AWSOME GOD!!!!!
Huge congrat's on your victory in the whole 'smoking' issue. That is such FANTASTIC news.
What a priveledge to be called His daughter. Knowing how much we love our own kids and would do anything for them, so our heavenly Father (X 1,00000000....) loves us and has done all that is needed already. Now just the waiting and trusting part to see what the GREAT surprise will be.
You are such a treasure and gem to so many and continue to be such an inspiration and example of a heart that is truly living for and seeking God. No doubt with your bubbly personality and your obvious love for Christ,you will be one patient who will have made a HUGE impact on ALL those doctors. They will no doubt be introduce to the one and only true physician and healer. I know that even in all of this God is using you in a wonderful way that you may not even be aware of .....yet. (I'm sure you've heard this already so many times before but it is still always such an encouragement to know that what Romans 8:28 says....for in all things we know that God works for the good of those who have been called according to HIS purpose.
You are in the best care ever!!!!
Thank you for sharing your on going and intimate lifes adventure and letting us know how to pray for you on a continuous and specific basis.
Continue to look to Him for your day to day strength, joy and hope and peace......
After all He IS all we need!!!!

margit :)

June 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermargit mitelstaedt

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