These past two weeks have been nothing short of surreal. Over the Christmas break I began to get ready to sew again. I have obviously not been sewing much but I was looking forward to getting back to it. I cleaned my house, I was planning on going the Tiny Stitches retreat at Amicalola Falls and I had an idea for how to deal with a UFO that bugged me all last year. Pretty cool stuff.
Kay went back to school on a Tuesday. On Wednesday I began to clean up my sewing supplies. On Thursday I began to cut the fabric I needed for the retreat only to find I didn't think I had what I needed, so before I cut anything I decided to drop by Tiny Stitches on Friday morning (among other errands) and make sure I wasn't making a mistake. I went to bed that night and when I woke up, I was in my driveway. True story. It gets better. I was being loaded into an ambulance by a guy who looked like he belonged on a soap opera. Trust me, if you have to be loaded into an ambulance and wake up in the middle of the job it's a very nice bonus if the guy doing the work is not only nice to look at, but nice. He talked to me the whole way to the hospital explaining to me what had happened. I had no memory at all. It was not quite 5:00 AM. The only things I knew for sure was that Lyman and Kay were in the driveway with me. Lyman had woken Kay up to come kiss me goodbye, I honestly think he thought I might not make it and he didn't want her to not have a chance to say goodbye. They were staying behind so she could get on the school bus and then he would be along to the hospital to check on me. The EMT told me I had a seizure that woke Lyman in the bed. All I can imagine is that it must have been some seizure because there have been times when I have been unable to wake him when I am actually trying to do so. He called 911 when he realized he couldn't rouse me and they came right over (they are just 10 minutes down the street) I'll be honest, I'm glad I remained unconscious for all of that.
Unless you have been on this kind of journey there is no reason why you would have any kind of understanding about it, except compassion. We can all imagine this is not something we would want to go through. We can all appreciate that someone who has routinely sought to avoid medicine of all kinds would struggle with needing drugs on an around the clock basis. Nobody wants a tumor. And I promise you nobody wants a tumor in this particular part of her brain.
The surgery went well. They let me come home on Wednesday of that week and I slept almost non-stop for three days.
Did you know that the effects of anesthesia stay in the body for 4-6 weeks and for someone with some the pre-existing issues I have that it could be 6-8 weeks? I have had some memory issues in the past week, unable to make the house alarm work properly, getting locked out of my bank account, forgetting my daughter's school i.d. number. They were all situational problems. As I sit here typing I can recall all this data now, but can't recall the name of an actor who was in a movie I have been thinking about this morning. The doctor assures me this is not due to the tumor which is not in a part of my mind that affects memory. It's not even because of the narcotics they gave me for pain (which I stopped taking as soon as I could bear to do so) but instead it is the combination of having my brain touched (which it does not like) and having the anesthesia. He assures me I'll be back to normal in about two months, total.
The results came back nearly two weeks later. There are some good things. I am relatively young and in the best physical shape of my life. The tumor is small and only a grade 2. I am asymptomatic except that I could have another seizure so I am on medication for that.
The bad news is that the tumor is in a very very bad place. No surgeon in Georgia is willing to consider operating on it. If it were somewhere else in my brain they would take it out rather easily and this would be something to watch for the future but no real risk. I wouldn't even need radiation or chemo. But it's not. Have you seen Dr. Shepherd do an awake craniotomy on Gray's Anatomy? I can remember him doing it twice so far. Turns out that's what I need and there are, in real life, only a few neurosurgeons in the world who can get the job done. That's really the bad part. They can't attack it with radiation and they want to save chemo for when the tumor gets aggressive because there are only two drug choices and tumors learn from whatever attacks them and improve their defenses accordingly. So, we wait. I will go for MRIs every 90 days, it could take years before the tumor changes, or it could have already changed and we won't know about it until we take new pictures in which case it might be too late. The biggest concern it seems is if it engulfs an artery in which case I could have a stroke. That's not a big enough concern at this point to make them want to operate.
Here's the amazing part of this (I'll bet you didn't know how special I am) my neurosurgeon has only seen a handful of cases like this. I'm the only case he's seen with such a low grade tumor. That's pretty cool. Of the handful of guys who can do this surgery, one of them, Dr Yasargil is the guy who invented the surgery I need. He invented the tools required for the job. He runs the most respected tumor program in America. In 1999 he was named Neurosurgeon of the Century. My doctor was placing a call to his office as I was leaving his practice on Friday afternoon. He hopes that Dr. Yasargil is interested enough in a young patient with a low grade tumor to want to operate. There are three programs in America that he recommends, but Yasargil's is the best and oddly the closest at the University of Arkansas. I am blessed that Dr. Weaver is committed to at least getting my case considered by this extraordinary specialist.
If you are a praying person and are wiling to add me to your prayer list I would be grateful. I am praying four specific things. These came to me in exactly this order and yesterday I realized they deal with the body, spirit, heart and desire, in that order. The last one only occurred to me yesterday and it is my crazy, only a miracle could make it happen hope. Fortunately the guy I'm praying to doesn't find the impossible difficult.
1. The tumor will not grow or change at all before it is possible to attack it.
2. My faith will hold.
3. That I will live long enough to see my 11 year old grow up and get married.
4. That Dr. Yasargil will already have it on his mind to come to Atlanta to demonstrate his technique for the neurosurgeons here who have only seen this kind of procedure on video so far. That when he sees my case he will be eager to put his desire into action.
I think God is pleased when we have the gall to ask for the impossible. I don't know that I'm going to get the pony I'm asking for, but if I do, I will know and every one around me will know how amazing it is. It's an opportunity to make an impact on people who don't always recognize the hand of God when it is moving in front of them.