Monday, November 19, 2007

Why is The Size Questionable?

When telling my story and talking about my three opinions, one of the first questions I typically get is: "How can they not know how big it is?" Well, here's the answer illustrated to the best of my abilities.

The picture on the left is of the lower portion of my brain. It is mostly normal. As you can see, other than some minor areas where there are creases in the brain (this is normal), it is consistent. This is what a brain should look like throughout an MRI scan.

The picture on the right is my brain where the tumor is located. (The right side is on the left) You can clearly see an area pointed out by the black arrow that is more than likely tumor. It is almost perfectly round, has well-defined edges, and is about 3 cm by 2 cm in size. Easy enough, eh?

The question comes in when you look at the area pointed out by the green arrow. This large area around it is also discolored but what is it? Is this tumor? Is it edema (swelling)? Just what is this area? That's exactly what we are hoping to find out at some point. In looking at the scan and looking at the fact I am having no symptoms from this, you want to believe that only the small area is tumor.

However, when you look closer, you see that the brain has been pushed from it's center point and there is pressure occurring on the other side because of it. The brain should have a straight line going up through the center of it dividing the two lobes. My brain does not. This is squishing occurring because of the tumor. Looking at it that way, it doesn't seem possible that the smaller tumor could do that much pushing and you notice that the pushing starts down where the larger area is.

Ah to ponder the human brain and it's amazing abilities. If indeed it is as large as the second mass, I have to ask myself how I am still functioning day to day. It's hard to imagine that something the size of an orange cut in half, can be placed in something the size of a cantaloupe and not cause enough damage to have some signs. I guess my brain is just doing it's job and rerouting as it sees fit. :)

Maybe this was a bit TMI for some but I do hope this helps clear that question mark in your mind about why there can be a question as to the size of my tumor.

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