Colin Loves Tractors Follow Colin's progress through treatment for a brain tumor

June 18, 2009

My Brain is Healing

Colin had a good night last night as the fentanyl wore off. The best moment was when he woke up and wanted to nurse. After drinking milk for about 20 minutes, he sucked down a juice container. Not long after, we removed the catheter.

Especially given the gravity of his surgery, he looks terrific. One of the nurses on the unit who had seen him earlier in the week commented that he was a “10 out of 10.” His color is good and he is giving all signs of healing well.

The fluid pressure in his brain is good and we remain hopeful that the surgery corrected the blockage for now. As we examine treatment plans, we will assess whether he should have the drain removed or install a stent, which would drain into his stomach. The problem with the drain is the risk of infection over time. The value of providing some kind of drainage is to prevent the possibility of increased fluid pressure if the tumor continues to grow during the course of treatment and blocks the ventricle again. Also, if there are tumor cells in the fluid, we would not want to feed that into another part of his body.

Colin is weaker on the right side of the body, which we think is at least partly a phenomenon we had observed prior to surgery. He had begun using his left hand for activities such as eating and favoring his right leg when walking and standing. We hope that this will improve over time.

Also, Colin’s right eye is not tracking perfectly, which is a side effect of the surgery and should be temporary. The peak of swelling following the disturbance of surgery is 24 to 72 hours later, and during the course of the day we saw him become weaker and less responsive over time. He is not swallowing as strongly and seems more lethargic.

However, the neurosurgeons assured us that the extent of the change so far is normal. After all, even though the surgery did not directly affect the brain, it did change the environment and represents a trauma of the good kind. Otherwise, his vital signs are strong and steady and there are no other indications that there are problems. We have CT scans from before and after the operation, should we need to take a look at what is going on in there.

We had surgery scheduled tomorrow to install the life port, contingent on a preliminary pathology result. However, these results will definitely not be forthcoming, so the surgery was cancelled and we will shoot for a time next week.

Over the next few days, we look forward to Colin’s brain recovering and enjoying its new-found freedom. This will be a good opportunity for Aidan to visit, especially as Colin gets a little perkier.

The drain in Colin’s head is wrapped in gauze, and it is fairly unobtrusive. Furthermore, it is not hooked up to a machine that beeps. Colin has lots of leads on him but only one IV line running. Please let us know if you would like to visit!

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