So, I have mostly neglected my “Tumour Diaries” this week. I have been posting, but instead of creating my own content (my own thoughts, experiences and research) I have mostly been posting poems, videos and other things that I find inspirational. There is a reason for this: this week I confronted reality. Unlike the previous three weeks where I talked to doctors I could barely understand, did some general research by reading books and Wikipedia, and talked in abstract terms to my few relatives that are doctors, this week I consulted my actual GP and met with my actual surgeon. This week it became real. This week I got to witness my GP visibly stiffen when he heard the news (he has been my doctor since I was about 7), and got to hear all the gory details and possible consequences of my surgery. This week I needed the inspiration.
I arrived in Sydney pretty much dead on a week ago, and managed to get an appointment with my doc on Monday. He visibly whitened and stiffened upon hearing the news, and immediately got me an appointment with a top surgeon. Not wanting to step on any toes, there was not much else he could do. My new surgeon, whose name is comically close to that of a Bond villain, explained that my tumour is most likely a Glioma (a tumour comprised of glial cells), and that it was most likely benign (a grade 1 or 2 out of a possible 5), however he would not be able to tell for sure until post surgery.
He concluded the nature of my tumour from a number of factors, not least of which was the MRI scans provided by the German hospital, but also from the fact I had been experiencing epileptic episodes for a number of years without realising it. For close to five years I have suffered from episodes of what can only be described as extreme “deja-vu” followed by an almost debilitating nausea, none of my family knew what it was and I suspect they thought I was lying, but my doctor has confirmed these episodes were most likely mild seizures (the German doctors also originally told me it was benign, but changed their minds to “we don’t know” when my Mother and Grandmother showed up).
My doctor explained that due to the nature and location of my tumour, as a result of surgery I would most likely experience a narrowing of my field of vision and other vision impairment as well as damage to my already shocking memory. When asked whether my memory would recover to even the point it is now, I believe his exact words were “I think that would be asking too much”. To give baseline levels so we can track the damage I do sustain, I completed a vision test yesterday and am scheduled for a memory test on Monday shortly before I check into the hospital. The results of the eye test were that I have a better than average field of vision and greater than 20/20 eyesight. I was very sure my eyesight was poor, and now that I know it is actually very good, I shall be very sorry to lose it.
I had a mild crisis mid-week when I realised that Glioma’s are essentially incurable (unless you have a grade 1 Glioma, where excision is essentially a cure), and that post diagnosis survival rates for grade 5 Glioma’s are measured in months if not years, and post diagnosis survival rates are around 15 years for those who have grades 2-4. I was adamantly opposed to receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment, but this was soon overcome when I realised the possibility of getting a medical marijuana license (overseas at least, if not in this sadistic and incredibly backward country). Either way, I have decided to postpone my mild crisis until after the surgery, when I will be better informed on how exactly I should freak out (and maybe upgrade it to a major crisis).
My surgery is scheduled for some time Tuesday. Apparently it will take around three hours and they will use some new fangled contraption called “brain mapping”. Unfortunately, some sort of keyhole surgery is not possible, so, bring on the craniotomy I guess. To be honest I am starting to regret my decision to abstain from treatment by tribal medicine and black magic in Sri Lanka, but lets hope someone can snap a good picture of a brute either way. This will be followed by 4-5 days of recovery in the hospital, and another 4 -6 weeks of recovery at home. My Grandma’s plane should have landed around 15 minutes ago, so I should be more than covered for fawning maternal attention the entire time.
Well, I think that is it. If it goes south, or if I turn into a vegetable it certainly was a fun ride while it lasted. I’ll be pretty pissed I didn’t get to see what happens next in Mad Men, and there are still almost exactly an infinite number of books I wish to read, but apart from that I should be good. Judging by the “Holy” texts I have read, if there is a God (and I do meet him on Tuesday), I am more than confident in my superior morality and his unworthiness to judge me. If there isn’t, well I’ll just be right. So it’s a win-win either way really. Please, no one pray for me. Save it for the people who need it, like all the kids God allows to be born into poverty and “false” religions. If it doesn’t go south, well, I figure I will be back here in a week and half or so, vividly describing my details of being unconscious while someone is fumbling around in my brain (I expect it to be a very short post). Seeing as how I have started to ramble, I guess I should end this show now. But, let me preface this ending by explaining that “aloha” can mean both “goodbye” and “hello”.