The quilts she makes with her church group provide comfort around the world. The cross-country motorcycle trips Alice Floyd takes with her husband David provide a sense of freedom, but Alice felt that freedom start to slip away.
"I got a headache that was nagging and just would not go away. I was really wobbly," Alice Floyd said.
A ride to Detroit Medical Center Neurosurgeon Murali Guthikonda revealed Alice had 30 to 40 benign tumors deep inside each side of her brain.
"The removal of these tumors is very tricky," Murali Guthikonda, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at Detroit Medical Center, said.
But he said a new device is helping surgeons safely destroy hard to reach and previously inoperable brain tumors without making large incisions.
"It has made a big difference," Dr. Guthikonda said.
Surgeons insert it into a dime-size hole in the skull or endoscopically through the nose. It cuts out and sucks out tumors.
"There's no heat like when we use lasers," Dr. Guthikonda said.
That's important when working close to structures like the optic nerve that can be damaged by a laser's heat or in areas where there's a lot of fluid, which can make lasers ineffective. As for Alice, the tool helped the doctor remove about a dozen tumors that were causing her problems.
"It's wonderful," Alice said.
The results were not immediate for Alice. After surgery, she had to go through six weeks of physical therapy to help get her balance back. The doctor says the device works best on soft tumors. It might not be the right approach for patients with hard or calcified tumors.