The day after I was admitted to the hospital, they took MRIs on the rest of my spine to see if there was anything else we should be worried about. I hadn’t been able to lay down flat for the past month without having excruciating pain. Unfortunately for me, MRIs require you to lay down flat and not move for about a couple of hours depending on how many pictures they needed. They had administered some IV pain mediations for me, which I thought would make the experience better. I think they overdid it a little bit because I started to feel nauseous during the whole procedure. I had to request Zofran in between the scans, which helped a little, but imagine being hot, nauseous, and in pain stuck in a metal tube. After two grueling hours of being in and out of the MRI, I was finally done. The scans on the rest of the spine and brain came back clear; the first good news we’d received since entering the hospital.
I was on a cocktail of various medications of steroids to help with the swelling and opioids to manage the pain, but for the first time in over 6 weeks I was starting to feel a little better physically. With the swelling and my pain under control, the neurosurgeon and I decided to have the surgery Monday to ensure the best team was in to perform the operation. The neurosurgeon pushed his other cases scheduled for that day so that I could be the first of the day at 7:30am.
The procedure took nearly 4 hours to complete and I lost 1.2 liters of blood, but the neurosurgeon was able to remove the tumor that was compressing T11. He fused together my spine from T10 to T12 to replace the support that was previously being provided by the tumor. I was sent back up to my room for recovery while the tumor had been sent off to pathology for testing. A frozen section confirmed the tumor was metastatic. All we could do now was wait for the final pathology results to confirm the source of the cancer.