Epidermoid Brain Tumor

19 Nov

When Britton was first told that he could have a tumor causing his hearing problems we were told it was probably something called an Acoustic Neuroma. These are also benign tumors below the ear that develops on the nerve. It can cause the kind of hearing loss Britton has experienced along with other symptoms. After the MRI it was discovered to be an Epidermoid Brain Tumor, EBT for short.  This is an abnormal growth of skin cells that begins during development.  Basically some skin cells got trapped in Britton’s development that have, over time, grown into what we know to be a 3 cm tumor.  Here is the good news.  It is not a fatal diagnosis.  These tumors can be removed.  There isn’t any other form of treatment, however, because they don’t respond to other forms of treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy.  So removal is the only option for treatment.  Some people are diagnosed with little symptoms so they opt to let it be.  Only take action if it does begin to cause problems.  For Britton, there is evidence that it has grown over the past 4 years from another MRI that was done for another purpose.  The doctors believe it will only continue to grow and cause more hearing problems and possibly eliminate all hearing in his right ear.

About Epidermoids.  They are “sticky.”  Until a surgeon can get in there they can’t tell you with 100% certainty that they can remove every last bit of it.  The cells tend to stick to things in the brain and they are also flaky.  It would be easy for a small bit of the skin cells to flake off and get stuck in the brain.  That means there could be additional surgeries in Britton’s future.  After his surgery he will need to have yearly MRI’s and have the results sent to whatever doctor we choose.  We can’t be sure this won’t return.  The good thing is that it is very slow growing.  It could be another 27 years before we need to worry about it again.  If it decides to grow another direction we may never have to worry about it again even if it does grow back.  His tumor has grown in almost the shape of an L.  The bottom of the L is under the brain, along the brain stem.  The top of the L is reaching up into the brain.  In the picture I am pointing to the dark spot that is the tumor. You can see pretty clearly how it is pushing his brain stem to one side causing most of his side effects but more on those later.

So what next? Last week when we were at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN we came up with dates for surgery.  We really liked the neurosurgeon at Mayo and his staff.  He seems very optimistic about being able to remove the majority of the tumor.  The doctor in Omaha was afraid it would take him two surgeries to remove it due to its L shape.  The surgeon at Mayo said he had no doubt he could do it in 1.  We haven’t booked a surgery yet but we are looking at dates in early January.  Britton wants it out and I am there to support that.  We want to get it before it causes any more damage.  Thank you again to anyone that reads this and is supporting us.  We are so thankful.

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One Response to “Epidermoid Brain Tumor”

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  1. inspiration | steelewall - June 4, 2013

    […] So I started to write about it instead of talk (well I still talked but a little less).  My blog was for me and my family and friends.  What I didn’t expect was that my blog would become a resource for others going through the same thing.  I realized sometime in January that my blog was being found in google searches for epidermoid brain tumor.  My site comes up on the first page when you search it (https://steelewall.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/epidermoid-brain-tumor/).  […]

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