Apr 19, 2010

A Date with a Shunt

When my neurosurgeon’s nurse, Peggy, called me this morning it really hit me: I’m having brain surgery, and I’m having it soon. Something about that call really sort of freaked me out.

Next Tuesday, April 27th at 7:15am I’ll be going under the knife. While this isn’t my first time to have surgery, this is the first time I’ll ever have to stay overnight and to top it off I’ll spend a day in the ICU. This may be the biggest freak out for me – that, and the fact that I’ll be in ICU is because they’re drilling into my brain! Are my headaches really that bad?? I think I have one just thinking about this! But alas, I know that they really are bad and getting worse and this truly is my only option at this point.

The procedure itself will take about 3 – 4 hours from start to finish. Dr. Coimbra will make an incision above and slightly behind my right ear, where he’ll drill a hole in my skull and insert a shunt catheter into my ventricles. From there a distal catheter will be run under my skin down my neck, through my chest and into my abdominal cavity. This will allow the excess spinal fluid that I produce to drain into my tummy and hopefully help reduce or even eliminate my headaches. At the very least it will restore the vision that I have lost. After all is said and done I’ll spend Tuesday in the ICU and then on Wednesday I’ll be moved to a regular room and hopefully be sent home by the evening.

Another freak out for me is my hair. I love my hair, and the thought of them shaving it off is frightening. Today when I asked Peggy about it, she said to not be shy about telling the nurses not to get razor-happy, and that they should only shave off a patch about the size of my palm that can be covered up with my remaining hair. I guess I’ll know the real damage when I wake up.

So that’s it! I have a lot to do between now and then and making sure that my house and my husband are prepared are number one. Brent will be taking off with me next week and I’m very grateful for that because I will need him. It’s going to be difficult for me to stay still and inactive but I will just have to tell myself I have no choice. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll catch up on all that sleep I’ve been missing lately.

Love, KC

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