Now that I am back home and not typing on my phone, a bit more of a detailed update. What a long day for Julia and her family, but everything went smoothly and very well. Carrie got updates from the OR about every two hours on her cell phone, and it was very reassuring to hear that Julia was stable throughout all of the procedures.
A couple of hours after we had heard that they were working on closing, two of the neurosurgeons and one of the nurse practitioners on the team came to the first floor lobby, where we had spread out on couches and chairs. The doctors were very positive about how the surgery had gone and how Julia was doing. They had performed what they termed a "very aggressive resection" of the tumor and felt that they had been able to remove about 90% of it, which, considering the challenging location of the tumor, was a great outcome. They will do an MRI tomorrow to confirm their sense of how much tumor might have been left behind. They still believe (although they are confirming with additional pathology reports) that the tumor is a very low-grade type, in which case they may be able to monitor it without needing to do any further treatment at this time. Potentially she may not need any treatment for several years, by which time she would be a better candidate for radiation. All of this is very good news. Also incredibly exciting to hear was that once they had removed the tumor she showed greater electrical conductivity in her brain. They were also able to remove the tumor from her spinal column and saw spinal fluid circulation restored--so while she has a temporary drain in place now, she may not need the shunt they were considering before.
Before the doctors left the OR they brought her out of the anesthesia enough to exam her and she was moving her hands and feet, which was wonderful news. She stayed in the OR so the anesthesiologist could work on placing a new arterial line. The line that caused so much trouble all day yesterday finally failed by the end of the surgery, so they were trying again. She also has a central line now, which should streamline some of her care.
The doctors were very clear that recovery from such a massive surgery is a matter of many months, not days or weeks, but they were optimistic about how well young children tend to do in this situation. Words can't really convey how amazing it was to hear this!
Thank you all so much for the prayers, love and good wishes you have been sending Miss Julia and her family all day.
|Out to lunch with Amanda near the hospital earlier today|