Immediately after my scans came back, the neurologist said the tumor needed to come out, but that it looked clean and contained, and most likely benign. He told me to contact a neurosurgeon. My sister-in-law, one of the smartest doctors I know, and my hero for helping me through my diagnosis and entire recovery, recommended the best brain surgeon in South Florida, and called in some favors to get me an appointment ASAP.
Because of COVID, the appointment was over the phone, and we discussed my options in depth. The neurosurgeon started the call with,
"You have a very, very large impressive tumor in the meningioma of your brain. The good news is that I’m pretty positive its benign. It looks clean and contained – exactly how we want, and exactly how a benign tumor looks, but it needs to come out because it there's always the possibility that its malignant, or it that it will continue to grow. Additionally, you are already exhibiting symptoms, and it's pushing on the surrounding brain matter. We should schedule surgery immediately, as in before the end of next week."
The surgery he proposed is called a craniotomy and these were my options:
1) a craniotomy to remove the tumor, hopefully its benign and we just monitor it from there
2) a craniotomy to remove the tumor and if it’s a grade II or III then radiation and monitoring
In summary, he suggested that we attempt a full resection of the tumor with a surgery called a craniotomy (which at the time didn’t sound scary at all since I had no idea what it was and the doctor was so certain he could get it all out). He said surgery was absolutely necessary because of my age (36), the size of the tumor, and because it offered me the best chance at living a long healthy life.
I am so lucky to have amazing family who actually came to my house to listen to the phone calls, and sit in on the zoom meetings, and help me come up with a plan. We decided to do the craniotomy and I slept well that night confident that he would get it all out and it would be BENIGN.