I keep wanting to start this post with.. “a brain surgeon walked into a bar…” and then finish that sentence with some sort of witty or undeniably hilarious joke… but I have no jokes. And really, I guess I don’t have that many emotions about this whole thing at this point. I’m just bummed. Do you guys remember that incidental/accidental/whatever brain tumor they happened to find about 7 months ago? I never really followed up on that too much. I mean, it was a bit hard to really follow up on it when I was being poisoned with with c. diff., you know? So the lump sat there. And I wasn’t really too worried about it. I had ten million other health problems going on to worry about. And a new lump, when I already have ten million other lumps, well, it wasn’t on high priority to me. I mean, I know it should be, because a lump in my brain is different than a lump in my breast, but still, again: I was busy.
So a good chunk of time has passed and whether I liked it or not, I knew I would eventually have to see a specialist. And so I did. We headed to Miami, yes for a bit of a wonderful getaway, but also to meet with a neurosurgeon— you know, someone to really look at the films/cd/whatever and know whats going on in there. And so south we went. And we woke up bright and early on monday morning to meet with a doctor. And while I can be a huge pessimist at times or incredibly anxious and worried, I actually wasn’t too worried about this. I genuinely thought I would see the doctor and he would say, “so I looked at the films, but the lump is harmless and not much to worry about, let’s just follow up and see if things change.” But no, that wasn’t the response I got. Instead, it was a very stern and direct, “that needs to come out. you’re going to need surgery.” And not just any surgery, but the most serious sounding kind, brain surgery. I think I mostly felt disbelief. And a bit of fear. And sad, really sad. I don’t want to deal with the medical system anymore. I’m done with it. I’ve been done with it. I have no trust in it. And to be told I would have to lay on a table to have my head sliced open. I mean, I don’t want to sound vulgar or aggressive in thinking, but crap, I don’t want my head freaking sliced open. Or how Alex put it so kindly one morning, “I was looking into the surgery, it’s pretty easy, they just drill a small hole in your….” NO, I DONT want to hear it. There’s no way. And then to spend another night in the hospital? And hope that everything went okay when there are so many awful things that can happen in surgery and in hospitals? I can’t deal with that. I really can’t. And maybe this surgeon might be the best. Maybe he’s incredibly talented, I mean, I’m sure he is, but I still in no way want anyone cutting any part of me open, especially not my head. And we were told by the doctor I saw, to go get lunch and come back at two pm to meet the doctor who would be doing the procedure, the one to discuss everything and explain it all a bit more. And I debated. Do I want to get lunch and come back? Or do I want to leave? Just leave. And yes, most of me wanted to leave, but I know the reality. And even though I’ve raised my white flag long ago when it comes to my health, that I am still going to have to face this.
So we grabbed food and went to the hotel to check out. I was handed no more coconuts. I was to go back to another part of the hospital and learn about what my procedure would look like– would it be soon? Would it be later? What would it entail? We sat down in an office this time. And the second doctor agreed, that it would absolutely have to come out. The bit of good news, it doesn’t look cancerous. Finally, good news. But that it was in fact pushing down on a nerve– and squished between another. That the ringing in my ears could have started from this (though I don’t believe it has) or my vertigo could be caused by this. That I might notice a bit of a twitch or spasm— which I do, when I first wake up in the mornings (but not at all during the day). Or that I could have difficulty swallowing or muscle weakness in my face and it could cause my face to droop down forever. And just a bunch of other mostly superficial problems. And I told him, if I only had to worry about ear ringing, the surgery isn’t worth it for me. As I’m sitting here the ringing is deafening. It’s so loud and has been every single day this year since the second day of my hospital stay. I can tune it out and move on. But no, thats the start. He stated that these types of tumor typically grow. And even if it only grows 1% a year– that yes, it may not cause problems this year or the next, but I’m only 30— so what happens 10 years from now or 20 years from now when the mass in my head is much larger? I don’t know.
But here’s the thing. My rational side asks: but when did my symptoms start? Well, about 7 months ago. My ear ringing, my intense vertigo, my excessive teeth grinding/twitching at night— it all started 7 months ago. And I know this lump didn’t pop up out of no where the day I entered the hospital. And my ringing is in both ears— not just the one side. If this lump caused the ringing, it would only be on the one side, not both. And the vertigo? Well, I don’t know. It’s worse the week before I get my period each month— so maybe it’s my hormones out of whack. But I’m not the brain surgeon. And I don’t understand the blood vessel issue he was telling me about. Or really anything about tumors, except that in Chinese medicine, it’s a symptom of excess. And I can’t make this lump go away on my own (though, I’ll certainly wish it away each night).
I’m tired of being the medical case. The sad story or pathetically depressing story teller. One year ago, I was the happiest I had ever been, and now, it’s like I’m the biggest downer in the world. This year is really crushing my self esteem and my self worth. It’s hard. I don’t have much choices here— just pretend that everything is all rainbow and unicorn like or just open up and admit that my life has really went to shit this year. And I absolutely hate to be the biggest downer ever and make this blog the most colorful looking but doom and gloom sounding blog ever, but I’m not good at the whole staged life pretending thing.
All I can do now is wait for an MRI and some other type of scan (the name is escaping me) and see what happens. According to the doc, if it grew at all since my first, then it needs to come out now. If it didn’t, it buys me time. And then I can ask, do I want it out now anyway to get it over with? In 6 months? Or maybe in a year? There’s no perfect time. I certainly don’t want it now, but I know that whatever side effects the lump creates, they will be permanent— so I don’t want to just sit on it and let it grow and cause more problems either. It’s like a game of chicken.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe thats my joke.
“A brain surgeon walks into a bar… and says, ‘it’s like a game of chicken.”
Except thats not funny either.
I’ve laughed and cried through this years troubles. But each new blow is making it hard to find the humor. I just keep reminding myself that life and happiness is about perception. That, I just need to work past all the physical and emotional pains and fears I feel and find a new way to go about looking at this and living through this. In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep you guys posted on what comes up next. How do you like my enormously bright and colorful photo to match this post? It’s not fitting at all, which I found it to be perfect.