Rescuing a Cop: Saving Christine From a Brain Tumor

FRESNO, Calif.

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

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

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," Christine Wycoff-Bone said.

"Everything stopped," Alan Bone said. "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 a giant tumor would put those plans on hold. Not only did it threaten her sight, its location 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, M.D., 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," Bob Shafa, M.D., neurosurgeon at UCLA in Los Angeles explained.

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.

"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 I felt like my hair was the only possible thing that Icould say, 'no, you can't take it!" Christine said.

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," Dr. Shafa said.

"It was amazing," Christine 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 the interview, Christine headed to china to adopt her little girl. Her name is scarlet-song. The Wyckoff's are back home where they celebrated scarlet-song's first birthday. Christine is clear of any tumor.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marsha Hitchcock at mhitchcock@ivanhoe.com

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