Robert had a good series of scans, the shunt is working and the headaches are easing off. The Doctor told him he could wait until he is fully recovered to begin any radiation therapy or radio surgery. The tumor in his inner ear is very small and non-cancerous, and is growing very slowly.
In the meantime he is trying to get his strength back and keep food down. He has lost more than 13 pounds the last three weeks, because the headaches make him nauseous.
The shunt was put in November 21st, 2008. It has a valve that regulates the pressure in his brain. If the ventricles in the brain swell to much the valve opens and the excess fluids drain through a small tube that runs under the skin from the top of his head down into his abdomen, where his body absorbs the fluid. The valve makes a bulge under his skin on his head, and the tube runs through a small hole they drilled in his skull and through his brain into the ventricles.
It is all very amazing to me!
The ventricles usually drain fluids away through small channels in the back of the head. The tumor in his inner ear is close to this area and next to the brain. It can cause swelling that shuts of the normal draining process. This causes the ventricles to fill with excess fluids and the brain swells too. It shuts down the nervous system.
In the week before the surgery, Robert lost the use of his legs, his bodily functions, and his ability to communicate. I thought the brain damage would be permanent, and I am so glad I was wrong! He is making a full recovery! He does have tremors in his hands, which started about a year ago, but were very mild. now they are much more prevalent. No one seems to know why.
Some headaches are expected from the shunt surgery, (after all they drilled a hole in his head!) but these usually don't last so long and get better not worse. The other factor is that when they do surgery they tip your head way back and put a tube down your throat. Robert has an old injury to his neck that is really hurting now, and the headaches run up from the back of his head to the shunt area, then spread out.
The Doctor said they will probably come and go, but they should get better now, And his chiropractor has been helping with the neck injury.
On top of all this Robert has had shingles since September! I have never seen a more miserable thing happen to a person. After the blisters go away the nerves inside his body get easily agitated and he said he feels like someone has hooked him up to an electrical current. If I hit a bump in the car and don't slow way down, he grabs his chest and moans.
So I keep asking God, how much can one person bear? Why does he have to suffer so much? Well, my mother sent this book to me, called "The Shack," and there it is!!!! The answers to so many questions. It opened up my mind to new ideas and new understandings. I thought maybe Robert was so hard headed and so stubborn, that God had to let all these things happen to teach him a lesson. I am sure he will be forever changed and learn many things from all this, but my understanding now is that our own choices, our own independence that we value and declare to God so often (that we can do things on our own) can cause us to reap the painful consequences.
I have truly been challenged to the very core of my faith. I am selfish and demanding, and very impatient. I am so wrong to think that God wants us to suffer. Father God is faithful in spite of it all. He may answer "No" sometimes, and even worse, "wait." Yet so many times he does answer "yes" too!!!!