Update: (02/18/2021 – 9AM)
We wanted to give you all a quick update on dad.
The surgery went very well. It was long (nearly 9 hours), but successful.
He is still in the ICU for recovery and observation and probably won’t be released until Saturday or Sunday. So far, he has passed all of his physical and cognitive evaluations with flying colors and is recovering on schedule.
Our whole family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from all of you wonderful friends. Thank you for keeping our dad in your prayers as he has been going through this surgery and recovery.
Reports also suggest that Mike Tyson is a real mess 🙂
We’ll try to keep everyone updated further as new information becomes available.
-Luci & Evan
This past summer I started having some trouble with the vision in my left eye; nothing serious, it just seemed to be a little less clear. I went to the local optometrist thinking I was just becoming an old coot and needed some glasses. He said everything looked OK and maybe try some eye drops and better reading glasses. I immediately threw away my $1.50 reading glasses that I got at the gas station and shelled out the big bucks at Wal-Mart for a really good pair for $6. Didn’t help.
Over the summer things got a little worse, by fall something was obviously wrong. I went to an ophthalmologist so he could look at my eyeball with his cool doctor tools and tell me what was going on. Over the course of several visits, he did every diagnostic test for eyeballs that there is and found zip.
He said I ought to get an MRI and make sure my brain was OK as that’s the only other thing that’s involved with vision. As I left his office, I called my brother who happens to be a world-renowned brain surgeon. He asked me a bunch of questions about my vision and said, “Hmmm, sounds like it could be a cavernous sinus meningioma putting pressure on your optic nerve. Get the MRI.” I got the MRI last week and that’s exactly what they found.
The meninges, as you may remember from your high school biology class, are a special kind of Saran Wrap that God designed to wrap our brains in to keep them fresh. After all, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having a brain that smells like the inside of your refrigerator!
Unfortunately, my meninges got bored and decided that growing in a thin sheet to cover my brain wasn’t very interesting and that a fun, creative guy like me would probably be really happy if they grew a Vienna sausage in my brain instead. I really wish they’d talked to me about this but I’m often very busy and they probably didn’t want to bother me or ruin the surprise.
So, I have a lump in my brain. It’s not cancer. It’s not malignant, It’s just a happy lump of stuff that’s growing in a place that will make me blind in both eyes and squish my pituitary gland and internal carotid arteries if they don’t take it out.
So, having this interesting case study, I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss some important principles of herbal medicine that apply to these situations.
Principle #1: Doctor’s Are Often a Really Good Idea
Doctors are extraordinarily good and diagnosing things. They have all kinds of neat toys to look at stuff and analyze our anatomy and physiology. Knowing what’s going on is much more than half the battle when trying to solve a health problem. We can spend a lot of time barking up the wrong tree and getting nowhere if we don’t have an accurate diagnosis. If I’d just assumed this was an eye problem and used all of my nifty eyeball herbs to try to fix it, I likely would have seriously endangered and perhaps lost my vision by allowing the tumor to continue growing and squishing my optic nerve while I was aiming at the wrong target and feeling like a smart herbalist.
The other reason doctors can be a really good idea is that sometimes they’re really good at fixing stuff…especially mechanical stuff. People often contact me about medical concerns asking for herbal interventions that might help. In most cases, herbs can be a really great idea. But sometimes they won’t be enough. I occasionally hear the sentiment that “I know God gave us everything we need to be healthy if we can just find it.” I agree with this sentiment for the most part but with one caveat: One of the things God gave us in this world to help us be healthy was brilliant surgeons that can take tumors out of our brains.
As I often say to folks dealing with tumors; Stainless steel scalpel blades are all-natural. If you find a nice fellow that can make your tumor be gone today, be friends with that guy. Then you can do some wonderful herbal stuff afterward to heal up.
Principle #2: If You’re Having Surgery, Don’t Take Any Herbs the Week Before.
Herbs are wonderful, powerful healing agents but there are several really good reasons NOT to take them prior to surgery. The first reason is that the doctors, for the most part, don’t know anything about them or how they might interact with the protocols and medications they will be using to try to help you. Herbs can and do interact with pharmaceuticals. Sometimes they make the drugs work better. That seems like a good idea unless that drug happens to be an anesthetic and they can’t wake you up after your procedure. Other herbs can counteract the actions of drugs. My surgeon has me taking a low dose of dexamethasone which is a cortisone-like anti-inflammatory for a few days before the surgery. He’s doing this because it may ever-so-slightly decrease the size of my lump so he can get around in there more easily to take it out. That seems like a good idea. If I decided that I should also take some good immune-stimulating herbs since I was going to be around all those sick people in the hospital, those plants would counteract the dexamethasone and may even increase circulation and inflammation around the lump and make things more crowded for the surgeon.
Other herbs, lots of them in fact, can thin the blood a bit. This isn’t a bad thing normally but can be quite a bad thing if someone is making incisions through your blood vessels with the assumption that you’ll have the ability to clot quickly.
My point is that the doctors are very adept at using the tools they know how to use. Introducing new variables to the equation with herbs has the potential to undo or interfere with the things they are trying to do to help you. Especially in surgical situations.
It is possible to combine herbs and pharmaceuticals safely and, sometimes very advantageously, but it’s something that generally requires some input from someone that knows about both herbs and pharmaceuticals. I do this all the time in my veterinary practice and even consult with physicians occasionally about such questions when they have a patient that wants to use herbs but, as experienced and informed as I am, even I lay off the herbs a week before surgery.
After surgery, I’ll be doing a lot of cool herbal things to heal up and optimize the restoration of my liberated optic nerve. But that’s a topic for another blog article. :0)
So, tomorrow is the big day. The doctor doing the procedure is confident that it’ll all be fine. He said that afterward I’d look and feel like I’d been in a boxing match with Mike Tyson…so I’m guessing tired and sweaty? Wait…unless he meant he thought Mike would win the boxing match…I guess I should have asked some follow-up questions on that. :0(
In any event, I’d be grateful for your prayers if you are so inclined. And, I’d also be grateful if you’d go to the website and buy lots and lots of stuff today. I’m going to have some bills to pay. :0)