Thursday, August 4, 2005

 

To my family and friends:

 

The surgery to remove the meningioma tumor near my brain took place on Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC.The operation was successful, in that the entire tumor was removed without excising any brain cells.But in the past few months (unbeknownst to modern MRI techniques) the tumor had become quite invasive, to the point where a significant portion of the tumorís surface area had breached through all of the meningial layers and had co-opted a blood supply from the brain itself.So it was no longer a simple procedure to remove a well-encapsulated benign tumor.Instead, the neurosurgery team switched to Plan B as the operation became an elaborate exercise at removing the final tumor layer and carefully cauterizing all of the miniature blood vessels that were feeding the tumor.It took five hours and these actions predictably caused considerable swelling near the brain tissue.

 

This post-surgery swelling, and the concurrent movement by the brainís gray matter to reclaim the space taken up by the tumor, had the effect of disrupting virtually all of the long-established pathways between my brain and the entire right side of my body.†† For the first 36 hours after the surgery I was quite miserable when I realized the extent to which I had lost most of the motor control and sensory feel over the right side of my body.Fortunately (and as predicted by my neurosurgeon) this state of paralysis has now subsided, and amazingly today I was able to walk (with alot of assistance) down the hallway and back.I have now regained good motor control of my fingers; moderate to poor control of my elbow and shoulder; good strength and control of my hip and knee; poor control of my ankle; and no motor control of my toes.My spirit improved considerably today and I am totally focused on the recovery process.

 

Tomorrow I am due to be transferred to the acute rehabilitation wing of this excellent hospital, for a 7-10 day intensive program.The objective is to enable me to walk(largely unassisted), and be capable once again of independently taking care of myself (eating, dressing, bathing).My personal goals are a bit more ambitious: to regain enough nerve and motor control to play golf this fall, go snowboarding in the winter, and regain my pilotís medical certificate by the end of next summer.

 

Please feel free to pass on this message to any people who are not on my distribution list and might have inquired as to how Iím doing.

 

Thanks again to everyone for their love, prayers and support.

 

Ilan