Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Isabella Goes to the O.R.

By the time I got to NYU at around 7:00 PM, Julianne and Isabella were already in the MRI area. The Physicians Assistant, Kristen, was extremely friendly and helpful and made us feel as comfortable as we possibly could. In addition, the pediatric neuro-anesthesiologist, Dr. Max, was prepping Isabella for the MRI. Dr. Max was instrumental in saving Isabella because he personally ran up to the Operating Room where Dr. Wisoff was in the middle of another procedure and told him that he needed to do Isabella right after his current operation.

Dr. Max felt that based on Isabella's current condition, she was close to herniating her brain stem. Brain stem herniation is when the brain stem separates from the rest of the brain because of swelling or pressure from a tumor and is fatal.

Around 9 PM, we finally met Dr. Wisoff. The MRI had already confirmed that the brain stem had already shifted due to the growth of the tumor. He also felt that the tumor was malignant, meaning it had penetrated good brain tissue. He would be able to remove most of the tumor, but he wouldn't be able to remove any that had penetrated - that would need to treated with either radiation or chemotherapy or both, depending on the type of tumor. Our hearts immediately sank, because up till now, we were hoping that it was a benign tumor that was completely separate from the rest of the brain and could be completely removed. Obviously, the prognosis for a malignant tumor is far more dire than a benign tumor, but at this point, the priority was to remove the bulk of the tumor.

We walked with Dr. Max as he wheeled Isabella up to the Operating Room. Dr. Wisoff estimated the operation to take about 3 hours. Dr. Max reminded us to give Isabella a kiss, then we watched them wheel her through the O.R. doors. It was 9:30 PM.

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