Medical Minute 3-2: Rescuing a Cop

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

They met on the job. Real-life partners in crime -- or should we say against crime -- destined to fall in love.

"My wife is my best friend. Every minute of every day that I can spend with her, I do," said Alan Bone.

As police officers, the couple was used to fighting off the bad guys, but nothing on the job could prepare them for their biggest battle -- when Christine Wycoff was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

"I was terrified, and I do a scary job, and I don't think anything ever on this job has scared me as much as that call and that moment," said Christine Wycoff-Bone.

"Everything stopped. I'm not even sure if I thought of anything at that point. I just became scared."

The two had just had their first child and were working on adopting another. But this giant tumor would put those plans on hold. Not only did it threaten her sight, its location -- it was twisted around her optical nerve. The tumor was also strangling the major arteries that supply the brain with blood and oxygen. UCLA's Doctor Bob Shafa removed the upper portion of Christine's eye socket to gain a window into the tumor at the base of her skull.

"The idea was to gain access to the tumor and to expose the tumor without applying any force or pressure by displacing the brain tissue itself," said Bob Shafa, M.D., Neurosurgeon.

Doctor Shafa performed the 10-hour surgery under a microscope. This type of surgery normally requires shaving the patient's head -- something Christine didn't want him to do.

"You know with everything I was faced with, it probably seemed so silly, but I just didn't have control over anything that was happening to me, and you know, I felt like my hair was the only possible thing that I could say, 'No, you can't take it!" Christine exclaimed.

And Doctor Shafa didn't.

"It's very important for us to obviously be technical with our skills, but at the end of the day, it's also probably just as important to sort of perhaps go above and beyond that and get to know the people that we are taking care of," the doctor said.

In the end, the tumor was removed, giving Christine back her sight and the gift of life. Not only hers but her new baby. The day after this interview, Christine headed to China to adopt her little girl. Her name: Scarlet-Song.

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500, jcherry@ivanhoe.com.


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