August 18 2010 - Rusk District Attorney Recovers From Brain Surgery

http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20100818/NEWS01/8180352

Posted on
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rusk District Attorney Recovers From Brain Surgery

By KENNETH DEAN
Staff Writer

HENDERSON - The horseshoe-shaped scar on his head reminds Rusk County District At torney Micheal Jimerson of the things he holds dear in his life and the day he faced his own mortality.

A 1993 graduate of Baylor University Law School and one-time general, civil and personal injury lawyer, Jimerson was elected Rusk County district attorney in November 2004.

That same year, he received the John R. Alford Outstanding Young Man award from the Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce for outstanding community involvement.

Jimerson was awarded the 2007 Dale Geddie Award for his investigation into corruption in the Rusk County Sheriff's Office involving civil rights violation against inmates.

He also has assisted the Texas Attorney General's Office in obtaining two convictions in the 1983 Kentucky Fried Chicken murder case.

Jimerson underwent brain surgery July 14 after suffering from a horrific headache that would not go away, even with pills and injections.

A trip to Henderson Memorial the night before and an MRI caused doctors to send Jimerson via ambulance to Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, where he met Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Martin Holland, who also is director of the Trinity Mother Frances Neuroscience Institute.

"I thought it was just a headache at first, but it just kept getting worse, and it would not go away. When Mona (Jimerson's wife) said she was taking me to the hospital, I didn't argue," he said.

When Holland looked at Jimerson's MRIs, he knew the prosecutor was suffering from a colloid cyst and that surgery was the only available treatment to alleviate the pressure growing in his patient's head.

Holland explained that a colloid cyst is a cyst containing gelatinous material, is found deep within the brain and can cause headaches, vertigo, memory deficits, diplopia, behavioral disturbances and sudden death.

"He had fluid gathering in a cavity in the brain, causing a ballooning effect, and this was causing the headaches and the other problems," he said.

Holland, who joined the Mother Frances team last year and began surgery in Texas earlier this year, said after discussing options with Jimerson and his wife, he and a team performed a craniotomy to gain access to the area of Jimerson's brain where the cyst was.

Holland said the surgery lasted three to four hours, and he was able to drain the cyst and get all of the affected area removed.

Holland's patient was placed into the Mother Frances Hospital ICU, where he spent another week recovering from the surgery.

Jimerson said that during the first few days, he was miserable.

"I reached up, and my head was all bloody, and all I could do is get sick and roll around in the bed," he said. "I couldn't eat, and the doctor said I couldn't go home until I could eat and hold it down."

Jimerson said eight days later, he was discharged from the hospital and he was glad to get home.

"The staff and all the professionals at Mother Frances did a wonderful job and bent some of the rules for Mona to stay with me in ICU, but it was good to get home," he said.

During the ordeal, Jimerson was able to see his young son David only once while he was hospitalized and that holding the boy was an emotional experience once he got home.

"I was real emotional when I got home. When David called me Daddy, that was it," he said.

Jimerson has returned to a half-day work schedule and goes to physical and speech therapy daily, but he will not return to the courtroom until he is released by his doctor in November.

"My staff here in the office really has stepped up to the plate, and they showed they love their jobs and they believe in justice," he said. "I don't have to stand over them like a task master."

Holland said he believes Jimerson will make a complete recovery.

"He is a very driven man, and he is already getting back to work," he said.

Jimerson said the entire situation has made him appreciate his life even more than he did before he fell ill.

"One day, I was fine and the next, I was having brain surgery. Something like this makes you really grateful for everything you have, and I am grateful for my wife, my son, my job and those I work with," he said. "I would not have made it through this without Mona. She was right there with me the whole time."

Jimerson said he is ready to begin prosecuting cases again.

"I don't have my stamina back just yet, but I am ready to get going," he said.

The seasoned prosecutor added he wanted to thank everyone for their prayers and their support.

"So many helped just through their words and prayers. We thank you all so much," he said.