Brain Tumor/Surgery My Recovery Story: Chapter 1 - The Discovery
Chapter One - The Discovery
Today I was informed that I had a brain tumor… really it was almost 31/2 months ago when I went in for a hearing exam and came out with hearing is fine, mild sinus infection and a referral to a neuro surgeon.
This is my reaction.
I went home from the hearing exam completely convinced that the diagnosis was not for me—it was not mine. Furthermore, that when I did see the neurosurgeon he would confirm my conclusion. I was so totally convinced that I didn’t even bother telling my husband that I had seen the doctor or the news… because frankly I knew it wasn’t true.
Around Wednesday the following week my husband asked, “How was the Doc- tor’s appointment? What did he have to say about the CAT scan and MRI?”
Deciding that the news of the first appointment was nonsense, I told him that my appointment was on Friday and asked if he would like to go. Assuming that I meant the hearing doctor, he said “No”.
Friday came along and as chance would have it my husband had stayed home from work. So right before I was leaving I asked him again if he would like to come. This time he said yes.
Figuring he’d be confused when we entered a brain doctor’s office I told him that we were going to see a neurosurgeon instead of the hearing doc. I explained what had happened and told him not to worry. I was sure that it was a mistake and that the neurosurgeon would confirm my conclusion and tell us it was just a fingerprint on the MRI.
As we sat giggling and laughing in the Doc’s office, the door opens. The neurosurgeon walks in. He shakes our hands and sits down. That is the end of the nice nice.
He proceeds to tell us that I have a tumor the size of a golf ball. If left untreated I would soon deteriorate—become cognitively impaired to the point of permanent memory loss, inability to correctly find and speak words, seizures and death.
He asked what symptoms I had. I told him that I hadn’t any symptoms — I felt fine and thought I thought fine. Then with a simple test he showed me that I had lost the ability to smell in my right nostril. Furthermore he asked if I had had any seizures or blackouts. I told him I was not aware of any blackouts or forgotten blocks of time—and started to giggle inside at the absurdity of the thought of remembering forgotten thoughts; but before the third HA could be thought, I realized that until seconds ago I didn’t know I couldn’t smell.
The doctor then suggested that I start taking anti seizure medicine as a precautionary measure and succinctly he said in the same sentence “Brain Surgery” was the only alternative to becoming a drooling dead person….Soooo quickly did our options and the room narrow…. Ugggh!
Surgery was scheduled two months down the road. By the time we had left the office I had stuffed the news into a far far corner of my brain. After all I had LIFE to live and things that were previously scheduled were very important to me. My favorite niece's wedding, an already planned surprise birthday party for my husband, a trip to Bimini and a visit by my sweet friend. I WAS NOT GOING to let a brain tumor ruin my life. After all IT WAS NOT MINE!
END CHAPTER ONE
“No matter what the situation take control of your life! Eeek out a space for you to figure things out!” By keeping the news to myself I could sort out what this meant to me… not for me. I realized all of a sudden I was feeling very emotionally fragile. The paradox which engulfed me was that I felt fine yet was scheduled for brain surgery.
One point of clarity was that until I fully understood what this meant to me I couldn’t take the chance of being bombarded by other people’s emotional charges and their personal stories. Internally I knew at this moment I couldn’t be distracted into a “pity party” or “ fear fest”
“Not identifying or personalizing an object, situation, event or illness is a powerful step toward TOTAL RECOVERY.” Denial isn’t useful in dealing with a situation but de-personalization can be a very very helpful step in reaching your prize. The tumor was never “MY TUMOR”. It was never mine! It was always something to be dealt with. In life often you can’t choose the circumstance or situation you are facing; but you can choose how you wish to experience them.
Personal control is tied to personal choice and personal choice is tied to how you choose to experience life. In the two months prior to the surgery I took care of business. I was practical. I did face the fact that I could die or have a dramatic personality shift or have some permanent damage to my brain. Denial stops life in motion. It creates a place of non– living. Depersonalization helped me reclaim my power and life.