Stitched, Screwed, and Glued

Posted: September 23rd, 2009 under health.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ready to roam the hospital corridor

Ready to roam the hospital corridor

Now that my neurosurgeon has removed a significant amount of my pituitary tumor, screwed the front of my skull back into place, and properly stitched the skin around the side of my face together; I feel like a new woman. Either that, or Frankenstein. I think it merits super powers or something. So far though, I haven’t noticed anything extraordinary.

On August 25th I went in for my supra orbital craniotomy. The operation lasted three hours. Amelia, who went through the CNA training course with me, was my CNA again. She took care of me when I was admitted for my transsphenoidal surgery in May. Brent was great at keeping me company. Dr. Florman suggested he bring the girls to see me before my face started bruising up. I guess he thought it might scare them. It was nice to have them there, and they were great, as usual. My friend Maggie came to visit me several times. She helped teach my CNA training course, and she also works with me in the cardiology unit. She made me a delicious strawberry shake and got the girls treats as well. She is awesome!

Maggie and the girls

Maggie and the girls

I slept a lot and quickly tired of lying in bed all day. The nurses were good about keeping the morphine and other pain medications coming. One of the doctors came in and removed the drain from my head. It didn’t hurt much, but I began to feel fluid coming out of the hole and dripping down the side of my face. His expression and response were that of surprise, concern, embarrassment, or a combination of the three. He said, “Um, just a minute,” and promptly ran off. After cleaning up the leak he sealed it off with a big glob of glue. The technology these days is amazing. ;-)

The physical therapist came a couple days after surgery to assist me in walking. She got me a walker with wheels and helped me shuffle down the hall. I was a bit unbalanced and dizzy. I think the double vision and lack of depth perception I was experiencing had something to do with it. Brent asked the PT if we could put tennis balls on the feet of the walker. He’s such a comedian. :-) She wanted me to get a walker to bring home with me, and have a PT come to the house to assist me. Uh…definitely not!

Brent loves his iTouch.  The girls like the games on it.

Brent loves his iTouch. The girls like the games on it.

I had several medications temporarily added to the regular hormone replacement medications I am currently taking. I believe the anti-seizure medication played a big part in the headaches and nausea (and what comes with it) I experienced the entire week and a half following my surgery. Also, perhaps I overdid it with the oxycodone, especially as I wasn’t eating much. I recently saw my endocrinologist though, and happily discovered that I do not need to add to or increase my current hormone replacement medications.

Dr. Florman did an excellent job, I think. He did not shave any hair, and the scar is neatly hidden behind the hairline around the top right side of my face. I ended up with a swollen black eye, which took a couple weeks to heal. When I was able to get out of the house, it seemed that I kept getting sympathetic looks from people while Brent would get dirty looks. One of our friends suggested he wear a t-shirt that reads “I didn’t do it.” :-D

My eye 1 1/2 weeks after surgery

My eye 1 1/2 weeks after surgery

Once again, I’m incredibly thankful for Brent and his loving support. He took more than a week off work to stay home and take care of me. He was vigilant and diligent about keeping me from doing anything I wasn’t supposed to (like getting out of bed). When I tried to do anything the least bit strenuous, he would warn me, “your face is going to fall off!” He took fantastic care of me and the girls. The girls were also wonderful and understanding. They’re such troopers!

I started back to work 2 1/2 weeks after my surgery. After trying out a couple six-hour shifts, I went up to my usual twelve hours. I’m feeling good, and keeping up with my 16 credit hours of school as well. I have an MRI scheduled for next week. If the tumor is safely removed from the nerves, I will then go talk to a radiation oncologist about having radiation therapy. Hopefully that will cut down future surgeries and significantly increase the time between each one.



12 Comments »

  1. Excellent post, Darling. I especially like the title. I’m sorry you must endure this awful tumor. Life isn’t fair.

    You can always count on me to be there, regardless. That’s what friends are for.

    Comment by brentdanley — September 23, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  2. Hey. Thanks for taking the time to write this. Glad to hear it’s all going OK. Woop!

    Comment by Steve — September 24, 2009 @ 4:35 am

  3. Wow! I am surprised your tweet on facebook was the first I had heard of all of this. From your blog, it sounds like the doctors believe you will get another tumor sometime in the future – is it due to the type of cancer you have/had? Through work, Mom’s cancer(Bonnie Uhler, Michael’s Mom, has multiple myloma), and his personal research, Michael has been learning a great deal about different ways people have successfully treated cancer in German clinics, as well as what some have done in America that are not commonly practiced by physicians here yet, but are far more gentle on the body in addition to being generally effective (I say generally, because different types of cancer sometimes need to be treated differently, and sometimes if a person is about to die already – the treatments may not have time to make a significant enough effect). Anyhow, if you are interested, feel free to e-mail him (stranger7x@gmail.com) or give him a call (309)868-7474. I’m glad you don’t have to do chemo, and that your family is being so helpful and supportive (along with the hospital staff). I hope things really improve/get better for you all. You’re in my prayers.
    -Sara

    Comment by Sara Uhler — September 24, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  4. @brentdanley – Thank you Baby. You’re the best!

    @Steve – Yes, I finally got around to it, seeing as how the surgery was about a month ago. :-)

    @Sara – Oh, it’s not cancerous. However the tumor keeps growing back pretty big. This causes problems with my hormones, as well as presses against the optic nerves which could potentially cause blindness, among other things. Thank you for your concern and support. I heard about Bonnie; I was sorry to learn about her cancer and all that she’s had to go through. I wish her well and hope that the treatments will be effective in dealing with it.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — September 24, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  5. Hi: I follow Brent’s blog ( on occassion, anyway) and find you to be such an interesting and lovely family. What a brave, tough and wonderful lady you are! I’m sorry you have to deal with this tumor, but you seem to do it with such grace and determination. Glad to see you are on the road to recovery from this latest surgery. My best thoughts to you!

    Comment by Tim — October 11, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  6. @Tim – Thanks so much! I appreciate your kind thoughts. Things are going well, and I’m grateful for the tremendous support from everyone.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — October 12, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  7. Wow! I definately have empathy for you. I have been doing the same thing for 10 years! Unlike yours , mine is a secreting tumor, it is an acth tumor. I will be having the craniotomy sometime between now and Christmas. Glad to hear that yours went well!

    Comment by Michelle — November 10, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  8. Thank you for posting your story regarding your pituitary tumor and surgery. I am glad to hear that the surgery was successful and you are recovering well. I hope the radiation therapy will prevent recurrent tumor growth and you will continually improve daily. I am meeting with a neurosurgeon in the morning at a neuroendocrine pituitary center to discuss treatment (likely surgery) for my pituitary macroadenoma. I have been suffering with terrible headaches and other symptoms for some time now but have felt anxiety regarding surgery. I have sought to overcome this with prayer and positive thinking. Your story has given me hope and courage and for that I thank you! :)

    Comment by Pamela — December 28, 2009 @ 11:52 pm

  9. @Michelle – I certainly hope your craniotomy is successful and goes smoothly for you. Thanks for the comment.

    @Pamela – I’m sorry to hear you have to deal with this and the headaches. It is nice to find others in the same situation though, and I’m glad that I could help in some small way. :-) Good luck with your surgery, and I hope it leads to a significant improvement.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — December 29, 2009 @ 6:28 am

  10. Danielle agian, I was wondering if your tumor started growing back after the first time you got it removed, or if it is something that was growing before the surgery?

    Comment by Danielle Monahan — June 15, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

  11. @Danielle — They removed as much of the tumor as they could, but they didn’t get all of it. What was left after each surgery continued to grow.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — June 16, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  12. I’m so glad I came across your post as I am having a craniotomy Sept. 24 to remove a pituitary tumor. I appreciate the details given for what’s to come. Although I’m very nervous, positive stories such as yours is very comforting. Just curious, how long were you in the hospital & how long after surgery was it before you begin radiation. Hope you are doing well now:-)

    Comment by Robin — September 13, 2014 @ 8:45 am

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