Jodi had an appointment at with an ENT at McKay-Dee Hospital this morning. She and Sherri (mom) went to the hospital while Kay (Tolan's mom) stayed at home with the boys.
The visit did produce some new information, though not much more in the way of a real diagnosis. The previous tests did come out well, meaning Jodi currently has no hearing loss or facial nerve damage to this point. The ENT explained a few points about the tumor, its location and effetcs.
* The tumor is on the outside of the ear canal, in the brain, but butted up against the bone that creates the ear. Therefore, it is wedged between a "rock" (bone) and a bad place (brain stem). The tumor is essentially flattening the nerves, making them thin like paper, hence, causing the vertigo and imbalance. With no where for the tumor to go, further symptoms may arise as valuable "critical" space is impeded by the tumor.
* Though there is still no "name" for it, the ENT believes it to be one of 3 potential types of tumors, all of which are similar enough in characteristics that they could be treated in like manners. His three potential options for Jodi's tumor were:
1) Wait and see -- this is only a good option if the symptoms are not severe enough to impede normal life. Given the severity of Jodi's current symptoms, waiting for a year to take another look doesn't sound appealing.
a) Through the ear canal - this possibility is the most direct route to the tumor, but surgery would leave Jodi completely deaf in the right ear. Only a good option for those who have already lost their hearing.
b) Around the ear - This is a tricky path to navigate as doctors would have to go through the facial nerves and around the auditory canals to get to the tumor. This could result in facial paralysis or deafness.
c) Mid fosa (?) - This is above the ear, cutting a section of the skull and moving the brain to reach the tumor. It is a "better" path, but still not direct and still close to all the auditory and facial nerves. Likely the recommended path if surgery is the option. Some specialists in the area have done this with success in navigating the critical areas around the brain stem.
Though these are all surgery options, the entire tumor still couldn't likely be removed, as it wraps around and "seeds" into the stem, therefore making complete removal highly unlikely.
3) Gamma Knife - A radiation treatment precisely targeted at the tumor. It would not remove the tumor, but would stop its growth and potentially shrink it. However, these tumors have a high likelihood of returning and if you radiate the brain this early in life, it has the possibility of making it harder to fight a more aggressive tumor that could reappear in 2-30 years. Plus, radiating any part of the brain causes the chance of damaging critical tissue cells in the surrounding areas.
So, none are perfect options, but those appear to be the facts. Jodi has another appointment set up with more specialists in SLC, who work specifically with these kind of tricky cases. Sadly, the earliest appointment isn't for a few more weeks...perhaps with more persistence and calls, things can be rushed.
After the ENT appointment, Jodi and Sherri went to visit Jodi's friend at the hospital. Paul is the director of cancer services and one of Jodi's favorite people on earth. Paul was wonderful to boost her spirits, while simulatenously giving her some "real life" wisdom to contemplate and process regarding the whole situation. She is clearly beginning to realize this may not be an "easy road" that she just takes care of then pops back into normal life. This may be a longer hike with a few steeper hills...so time to get the hiking boots on and worn in!
Still, Paul was the angel of the day, with his bright smile and warm caring embrace. :)
She was dizzy at home all afternoon, so she and Kay took the chance to just sit and visit while Jodi rested.
Her young women Lisa and Megan brightened her spirits with calls, along with voice mails from Jason, her sister Kristi, her dad and other friends and family. Her friend Kelly also had some wise words, from someone who has had many traumatic experiences herself...these "understanding" words definitely help when trying to cope. Cami Hall took the kids and visited for a while, too. It is all of this that keeps them all going.
Neighbors Curtis and Vener brought over a yummy dinner and Jodi's appetite finally returned. She tried to eat enough tonight to gain back the 8 pounds she's lost in the last 10 days. Hopefully she succeeded. Hopefully a nice, peaceful night for Tolan and Jodi to spend at home with their little family.
Jodi would also like to invite everyone to pray for so many others who are in need of help right now...she doesn't want to hog all the blessings! So many friends and family members are in need, let's all pray for each other!