After a very long day, we met with Scarlett's neurosurgeon today. He again showed us the images of what we are dealing with.
He said it very simply: Let's just get this out, and then worry about it. He is just as disappointed as we all are to see something growing, but admits we just don't know what it is, and we can't make a wise decision on treatment until we know. His biggest concern at this point is the risk of infection; he estimates that 1% of craniotomies (surgery to open the skull) get infected; shunts increase that risk, and we all know that Scarlett has a way of attracting conditions with even the most minimal risk. The last thing we want is her shunt to need to be replaced - this shunt is a winner!
So, Scarlett will be scheduled for surgery shortly after we return from our Thanksgiving trip; I expect it will happen before Christmas.
It was a full day of talking Scarlett. This morning, I spoke at the breakfast for the super donors of the Stanford Blood Bank - those who have donated 100 or more times. Our blood drive coordinator suggested us as a speaker, and we were happy to share our story, and to thank the wonderful donors who commit their time and arms to donating every opportunity they have for several years. The blood bank supplies the hospital where Scarlett had all her chemo and countless transfusions, so it is highly likely that someone there donated blood that saved her life. The blood center was kind enough to put us up in the hotel the night before so that we would not have to battle traffic early in the morning, so Chris, Scarlett and I had a little night out before our speech.
Now, we have a few days to pack before we take Scarlett on her first flight to visit her great-grandparents in Washington. It will be an adventure for sure!