Even though Old Man Winter decided to kick start winter on Leap Day, today was my scheduled meeting with Drs Tummala and Hunt at the U of M Neurology clinic. These doctors work as a team. Dr. Tummala is the neurosurgeon who will perform the angiogram simultaneously as Dr. Hunt works the cyber knife/gamma radial surgery.
The meeting went well. The doctors agree that I am a good candidate for the gamma surgery since my AVM is small. They said the surgery works in 80-85 percent of people and the most successful are the surgeries on small AVMs.
Most of what they told me, I already knew. The surgery is a same day surgery. I will come in to U of M early in the morning. I will be fit into a head brace halo. Dr. Hunt will fit me. My skull will be numbed in 4 places and then the halo screwed into my skull. Dr. Hunt will make sure it fits snug and that I am as comfortable as one can be with screws in the head.
I will be awake for the surgery though I will have an IV with Fentinol to make me relaxed. Dr. Tummala will send a catheter through a vein in my leg up to my neck. Dye will be injected and the AVM will be located and mapped. Dr. Hunt will perform the gamma surgery on the AVM, blasting it with radiation.
Both doctors agreed that I should not lose any hair as a result of this procedure. They think it wasn't the radiation that made me lose my hair last time but the x-rays used to take pictures of the procedure. They said they read in the notes that the x-ray part took upwards of 90 minutes and in this case the x-ray part will be 5 minutes or less. So yay! No hair loss. Wonder how long it will take me to grow it back now?
After the surgery, they will close the site where the catheter was inserted, remove the halo, make sure I'm all good and then send me home. Based on my other procedures all I will want to do for a couple of days is lay low and sleep while occasionally taking some headache meds.
Even with the surgery, the AVM will disappear very slowly. The average is 2 to 3 years. They said they won't want to see me for 2 years though I will still be seen by my seizure specialist and my neurologist...probably in 6 month increments. They said I will most likely be on anti-seizure meds the rest of my life because even with the fistula and AVM gone, my brain has undergone damage and once a person has had a seizure, their odds of having more greatly increases. Thankfully the medicine I am on seems to work so I will do what they tell me and stay on the meds.
Most of what they told me is stuff I knew from my own research. I was nice to meet the doctors and talk over things though. They were kind, down to earth, and very helpful in answering my questions. The next thing I do is wait. Someone named Pam will call me from the U and she will tell me when the surgery has been scheduled. Most are scheduled on Tuesdays or Thursdays. I was told she should call in the next week or 2 and the surgery will most likely be scheduled for sometime in March...maybe early April. So I just wait.
In other news, barring any new seizures occurring, I can once again begin driving on Monday. I am nervous but I will be smart about where and when I drive myself. Based on my weigh in today, I have been too sedentary and have been eating too many feelings this winter so I may just resort to riding my bike for short errands. I am going to a workshop next week on keeping and maintaining my bike so it's ready to go when I am. Just put a basket on it and I will be good to go.
Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts. I will keep updating this space as I know more.