Not so great news
We have been wanting to get this blog started for well over a year, but somehow my writing time has diminished--or perhaps it has just been pushed aside with other things in life. Now it is time to let family and friends know what has been happening in our (my) life.
Almost 18 months ago I had an abscessed tooth that sent me to the hospital early one Sunday morning. As a part of the workup to prescribe an antibiotic, they did a CT scan. I learned that I had a frozen right vocal cord, along with a couple of other minor issues. I didn't think much about it. My regular doctor reviewed the report several weeks later and the issue was tabled.
Both Ron and I had our hearing checked at Costco a month or two later. While Ron has some hearing loss, I had moderate loss, thought to be due to my tinnitus. The audiologist suggested a visit to an ENT to rule out further issues.
Spring is always difficult for me when my allergies flare up. On our trip to Europe last spring, I had several asthma attacks. It was time to get some of these issues evaluated.
Both Ron and I visited an ENT during the first part of March. He will need his sinus cavities surgically cleaned out, but my issues needed further testing. I and several CT scans and two MRIs. Of course they found the vocal cord issue, but they also found a growth that was concerning.
We went to visit the Otolaryngology department at George Washington University yesterday morning, The doctor reviewed all the scans and determined that I have a Glomus Vagale tumor at the base of my skull. These tumors are 99% benign, but most of them need to be removed. Because it is located inside the skull, this is pretty major brain surgery, although there are several other possible options including radiation and Gamma knife "surgery." The Otolaryngology department is reviewing the case and will make recommendations soon.
All the pieces fit together. The tumor is pressing on some of my cranial nerves. The tinnitus, the vocal cord paralysis, my fast onset asthma attacks, even my continuing pain in my right shoulder (I've been in physical therapy for about 6 weeks) are all linked to the tumor.
Glomus tumors are rare. There are several types and mine is the rarest. I have spent far too much time on the Internet in the past 36 hours searching for information. Most of what I have read has been related to Glomus Jugulare, and it looks like the outcomes are worse for those as compared to my Glomus Vagale. This thing won't kill me. It is not cancerous, but it sits around a lot of cranial nerves. Some are already damaged and more could be damaged in surgery. The surgery can take a long time (up to 18 hours, apparently and the recovery is slow. So far, it looks like any procedures will be done in June.
So what can you do? Pray--please pray for me. Pray that the doctors come up with a good treatment plan, that the procedure goes well, that the damage is minimal, and that I have a good recovery.
Right now I am having great difficulty talking about all of this. We don't know enough details to tell you more than I have written here. Please don't ask me lots of questions. We don't know the answers. I will post more here as we learn more.
Pray for us--
Pat and Ron Fauquet