Saving the life of a police office and her family
Christine Wycoff, a 39 year-old Los Angeles Police Department Detective, solved many crimes in assault, grand thefts, burglary, and was recognized over her 12 years of service for arrests made but in her own life she'd hit an unsolvable mystery. She began to experience visual floaters, dizziness and an overall feeling of strange while taking fertility treatments. Her husband Alan Bone is also a LAPD Sergeant. They are real-life partners in crime often working together to solve cases in the field. Together, they came to the conclusion that the time had come to end treatments and start an adoption for a baby in China.
Christine became pregnant. The tough pregnancy turned into a difficult new motherhood plagued with headaches, dizziness and bursts of sudden sensitivity to light. The cacophony of voices buzzing in public places such as the grocery store and at work disturbed her. She cocooned in a dark room after returning home from the constant hubbub at the police station instead of spending time with her baby girl.
The symptoms progressed from sporadic to weekly, to daily and then hourly attacks of visual blackouts, headaches and emotional breakdowns. Finally, she confided in another female detective on the force. Together they went to the hospital to seek help.
After a series of tests, a mass in her brain surfaced on a MRI. That's when the evidence of this case began to surface. For Christine's husband everything just stopped. They were just starting a family with their miracle baby girl and had an adoption for another girl on the way. Now this brain tumor threatened Christine and their family.
She was referred to a neurologist who she described as cold, clinical and arrogant with his "wall of look at me" degrees. He couldn't help her because she had a tumor straggling her left optic nerve.
She was referred to specialist Dr. Bob Shafa, a neurosurgeon at UCLA. When the door of the doctor's office opened, not a nurse, but Dr. Shafa himself, came out and greeted Christine with a big hug at UCLA. She melted in his arms and felt an instant feeling of security and confidence. As he explained to her that she would have to undergo a craniotomy, she noticed he didn't have a "look at me" wall of fame. Dr. Shafa warned he had to go in right away for fear she may have irreparable damage to her vision.
Vision wasn't the only thing she might lose due to the brain tumor. She received word from China that the adoption was declined due to her health problems. On the eve of the surgery, she felt very out of control, afraid. She stroked her long red locks, like a child holds her security blanket and begged Dr. Shafa not to shave too much of her hair. The surgery, she was about to undergo required him to shave her head. They bargained on three inches, then two inches, and finally settled at one inch across her head.
Dr. Shafa performed a 10- hour surgery to remove the tumor, he discovered her left optic nerve was completely flat. After she finally awoke and the bandages were removed, Christine felt no inkling of bald. In fact, she discovered that Dr. Shafa had braided her hair before the surgery so he could work around it. He not only saved her hair, he also saved her vision.
When she saw him later, Dr. Shafa said, "I knew you needed your hair." And she said to him, shocked at his compassion, "Who are you? Who does this?" Dr. Shafa explained, when his mother, a surgeon, was diagnosed with a debilitating illness, he witnessed some doctors treat her like a number and some like a daughter. He strives to emulate the ones who treated his mother like a daughter.
That December, Christine resurrected her adoption with a letter from Dr. Shafa saying that the tumor would not come back. Christine received the news they have been awarded adoption of a five-month old baby girl.
Last spring the family traveled to China to bring home their new baby girl, Scarlet Song.