Monday, March 15, 2010
COUNTDOWN TO PHOENIX
Our son, Jim, called on Sunday to let us know that Ryan Westmoreland, a 19-year-old outfielder for the Boston Red Sox minors (and considered to be one of their best prospects), is scheduled to undergo brain surgery March 16 for an unusual congenital condition that carries significant risk of neurological damage and is potentially life-threatening. After the Red Sox flew him around the country for consultations with three specialists, the decision was made to have surgery, which is to be performed by Dr. Robert Spetzler of Barrow Neurosurgical Associates in Phoenix, Ariz. We were all heartened to hear that someone who could go anywhere in the world for treatment chose the same place that Jim is going to. Jim is having dreams about surgery: visions of doctors going into his brain with saws and saying that they have to go back in and do it again. Perfectly normal. He's actually handling it all quite well.
Ryan's condition, it should be noted, is different from Jim's. Jim has a fusiform aneurysm, which means that the entire right branch of the main artery in the back of his head is widening. A fusiform aneurysm is one of the most difficult to treat, and Jim's aneurysm is in a very sensitive part of his brain. The neurosurgeon in San Diego told Jim his condition was untreatable and inoperable, since the artery is necessary. Cutting it off would kill him. Thankfully, Barrow has two options available for treatment and the method will be determined by a test that will be performed on Wednesday.
Guy left today and will meet up with Jim at the Phoenix airport. They'll share a room tonight and tomorrow night before I arrive. I'll fly to Phoenix on Wednesday. Guy brought the laptop with him, so I'll try to provide updates daily, if possible. (Tuesday night, I'll be one of the judges at a "Culinary Combat" event -- the main event at the annual Taste of Coastal Carolina, hosted by the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation. There will be about 1,000 people in attendance and TV10, our local cable station, will be televising. It should be fun, and I'm looking forward to it. Last week, Larry Baldwin, the Neuse Riverkeeper and I were interviewed on the Phil Knight Show, a local talk show on Cable 10 TV and local radio. Phil Knight was one of the judges last year.)