A couple of days ago, I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Prince Clivus and the infectious disease guru, Dr. Bug. My clivus problem has been downgraded again. There was never any osteomyelitis (bone infection). Instead, all the pathologists found was dead bone covered with a patina of infectious glop (i.e. mutant booger from hell). The dead bone was acting just like a splinter--a haven for wayward bacteria that was safe from the bodies defenses. (This doesn't mean I'm off the hook for antibiotics. I have at least another month. Hooray.)
This answers several questions I had. Why didn't I feel sick? Why didn't I ever get a fever? Why were the labs usually associated with bone infections solidly normal?
But it leaves several more questions unanswered. Why the smell did I have that little stroke? They established that my vertigo symptoms could be explained by the location of the stroke. Then, they explained the stroke by saying that any inflammation on the skull base can cause a brainstem stroke. But can a splinter cause a stroke? Are you sure?
Then, there's the question of what happens in the long run. The inside of my head took a Fukushima vacation with all that radiation therapy, and some of the irradiated bone is open to the air. That means it's going to dry out and die again, and I'll have another splinter. Eventually, my entire skull is going to dry out, and they'll have to remove it. My head will look like a Dali clock. Obviously, unless I want to work in a freak show, that is not an option. The bone will have to be covered. This means another very difficult surgery is somewhere in my future. The tumor is gone, but the thrill goes on.
Meanwhile, in other news, a dear member of the extended family seems to have snatched the tumor torch from my hands. Enough already!