So, the fun all began last Monday (the fourth) with a trip to the psychologist’s office for a memory test. After three hours of drawing pictures and failing drastically to remember word associations, it was finally confirmed that despite being smarter than the average bear, my memory is in fact worse than the average stick.
Immediately following my memory test I checked into the hospital to prepare for the next day’s surgery. I was given a lovely room in the neurology ward, and the radiology department decided to stick funny sensors to my head and run me through the MRI a few times so they could “map my brain” or something.
I was wheeled into surgery around 10:30 am on Tuesday for my craniotomy, having somehow secured second place in the running order. The surgery lasted around three hours, and I woke up in Intensive Care that afternoon with a thoroughly blistering headache. After quite a lot of complaining and accusations that the doctors were actually homeopaths, my pain was eventually brought under control and I was once again run through the MRI so my doctor could take a closer look at his handy-work, and to ensure that I had no bleeding or excessive swelling. The resulting images showed that the surgery had been a resounding success, with the entire visible tumour excised. The only thing left to do was recover from the surgery and wait for biopsy results to determine if any further treatment was necessary.
To continue my recovery, I was discharged from Intensive Care and wheeled up to the neurology ward on Wednesday morning. However, my headache proceeded to get progressively worse, to the point that I was doing little else but hiding from the light behind an eye-mask, and groaning every time anyone made any noise. As the neurology ward is apparently the loudest place on the planet, by Friday it was decided that continued stay would be more hindrance than help. I was barely sleeping or eating, and despite a cocktail of pain killers and other medications, my headache was seemingly going from strength to strength. I was sent home with a giant bag of medication, and told that the biopsy results should be back by Tuesday.
I whiled away my weekend reading and attempting to avoid sources of light, and despite a steadily worsening headache I even found the courage to watch my beloved Celtics get eliminated from the NBA playoffs. By Monday morning I was physically starting to feel better, and even dared to venture out of my bedroom to explore the kitchen and TV room, however, then things took a turn for the worse. I had 2 seizures around 8am on Monday morning, and my Mother was forced to call the ambulance. I was checked back into the hospital, where I proceeded to have two more seizures. My anti-seizure medication and the anti-swelling medication were both increased in order to reduce the risk of further seizures, I spent the night in Intensive Care under heavy observation, and was checked back into the Neurology ward on Tuesday Morning to await my pathology results.
My pathology results were unfortunately not available on Tuesday afternoon as promised, however, by Wednesday afternoon my results were in and they were good. My tumour had proven to be only a grade 1 Glioma, which means that complete excision is effectively a cure. I will not need to undergo radiation or chemotherapy, but simply submit to ongoing observation to ensure it does not “come back”. Grade 1 Glioma’s do not “evolve” into their more dangerous cousins, so for now at least I am cured.
So that’s it. There probably won’t be many more entries in my tumour diary. I do thank you all very much for coming on this journey with me, especially those of you who have offered me words of encouragement and other support. For those of you out there who are in the unfortunate position I was when this all started, I hope my story can be one of hope. With a positive mind set and modern medicine, even something as scary as a brain tumour can be beaten. Good luck.