Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Can you say 'clivus', boys and girls? I knew you could.

Mostly wrote this yesterday and this morning. I'll update you on today's visits ASAP.

Well, after a day trip to the Big Fruit, accompanied by Kathleen and the Medical Mafia*, everyone feels a lot better, even Clivus. Dr. Mr. Rogers was a prince as ever. He entered the room and gave me a hug. Then put on his cardigan and exchanged his shoes for slippers as usual. He cautioned that you can't resolve the issue 'til you biopsy the tissue. However, from the look of things, this could be a lot worse.

Let's digress so I can explain what 'a lot worse' means and why I have been 'having a cow' for the past week. Clivus lives in a potentially nasty neighborhood, and it ain't The Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Upstairs is the sella turcica ('Turkish saddle'), wherein sits the pituitary gland ('Turkish butt'). With pills, you can live without the pituitary, though if you happen to bleed into that area, you can die quickly. Still, not a terrible neighbor. Up front is the nasopharynx, a good neighbor, if a bit messy. What had me wetting my pants were the ones in back. There are the meninges (the brain's Saran wrap), which, when disturbed, can hurt like a Reggie Roby kick in the bojangles. Most worrisome of all is the pons, named after Dr. Arthur Ponzarelli. Mess with the Pons, and you get Locked-in Syndrome. All you can ever move for the rest of your life is your eyes. I'm a bad enough dancer as it is.

Anyhoo, he pointed out that the tumor is in the anterior side of the clivus (i.e. next to the nasopharynx), not the posterior (i.e. impending horrible pain, disability and death). Also, it does not 'light up' much on the film, meaning it is not very aggressive. There is still a (very) small chance that it is not malignant. It could be a weird infection. (I'm still rooting for a mutant booger!)

Finally, with grace and professionalism, he told us that although he would gladly clear the schedule and put me in an operating room by Friday, it was entirely reasonable and safe for me to get the procedure closer to home as recommended by my primary care doc, at Ben and Jerry's Hospital (See Glossary: They have skull base surgeons second to none as well as most of my records and hordes of MDs from every specialty that a complicated guy like me could ever need. F'in' Famous will stay connected with my case and collaborate on the plan as information becomes available.

The man is a virtuoso neurosurgeon and a mensch.

*My parents are both physicians. Every time one of my tumors pops up, they call all their friends to find out who is a good surgeon, which is a good hospital, etc. Hence, the Medical Mafia.


  1. Thanks for the update, Tom. And, mutant boogers ftw!

  2. Apple pie and ice cream make a good combo. Glad so far the assessment sounds cautiously optimistic. Niki xx