We made the trek to Rochester today to see Dr. Pilcher (just in time as he leaves tomorrow to perform brain surgery on epilepsy patients in Cypress). Michael's anxiety level on the way down was very high. He cried most of the way and just kept asking if: 1) we could come back home today, 2) if there were going to be any needles and 3) if they were going to give him any medicine. Once we got there he settled down though.
Sue, Dr. Pilcher's assistant, removed Michael's stitches (all 65+ of them). Michael relaxed after Sue said she would do her best not to hurt him and assured him there would be no needles. He laid perfectly still and didn't make a sound. Sue said that in her 10 years of removing stitches, Michael was the best patient she had ever had. We were VERY proud of him.
Then we talked to Dr. Pilcher. He is very happy with Michael's progress and stated again with how happy he was with the surgery. Michael still has a ridge where the incision is. Dr. Pilcher said that will go away in a couple of months when the internal stitches dissolve. But, at the rate his hair is growing, the scar will be covered before that.
The pathology reports still says the tumor is benign but they changed the classification of it. They now say it is Astrocytoma, grade II and not a Gangloiglioma. It is made up of Astrocytes, which occur normally in the brain. Michael just had an abnormal growth of his. Grade II means it is fairly low grade (or slow growing). Some of these tumors can progress into the more dangerous high grade tumors so Michael will have to have regular MRI's to watch what the surgeons were unable to get. Dr. Pilcher hasn't ruled out trying to treat the portion still in Michael's brain in a couple of years if it moves to a safer position. We will just have to wait and see what the remaining tumor does.
For now it is just rest and recuperation for our little boy. He has to go back to Rochester in early December for an MRI and a meeting with Dr. Pilcher and Dr. Korones (the oncologist). Dr. Pilcher suggested we keep Michael out of pre-school for a couple of months until his skull and brain can heal. Although we agree with keeping him safe, he is a social little boy and loves to play with other kids so we will take it one day at a time for now. Thanks again to everybody for caring, JoAnne.