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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Annual Check on Brain

I had my annual review of "what is going on in my head".  This entails getting a MRI, and then comparing it to the previous year.  Boy, you get to a certain age the annual visits for mammograms, gynecology forays, dentists and throw in neurologist for the heck of it visits take up time, and money.
My meningioma was treated by gamma knife December of 2011.  I don't recommend this treatment NOW, now that I know the end result, but I was not fully operating at full awareness and felt the pressure to do something. Something to retard the tumor growth going on in my head. And, for the record, the tumor and stroke are unrelated.  I was aiming for balance, since both are on opposite sides of my head.  Just kidding on this, but really, when you get hit with a tumor and stroke, can you do much more than laugh or cry or yell? I did the other stuff, and ended up with the laughter. Reminds me not to take myself to seriously.

Gamma knife is an intense laser pinpointed at the tumor from many different angles.  The downside, which happened in my head, is that it can destroy good tissue along with the tumor.  Not fully explained to me at the time, but there it is.  My somewhat egotistical, loves the sound of his voice neurosurgeon did not really want to address what my great stroke neurologist pointed out in a visit to his office... that my brain stem got zapped.  My scans were taken to a neurology review board (because I am medically interesting) (I would prefer to be medically boring but that option is no more) another doc noticed "a shadow" on my brain stem next to the tumor... that might be due to it being hit by the laser.  I was upset and pissed for about two days, then let go.
Next, my regular doc ran blood work, the results which he said "woke him up in the night"... since they made no sense.  (Welcome to my world.)  What he is thinking, is this is tumor related.  A part of my brain got zapped and is dropping my blood serum sugar to danger levels. I feel fine at this point, so no worries yet.

My partner asked me how I was doing about this news and I lied to him and told him that compared to a stroke, having my pituitary go haywire is nothing. That was an untruth. There is a part of me angry, frustrated and my favorite... afraid (that is heavy sarcasm). I am thinking I have quite enough of this shit.  BUT that does not really matter, because it is a life, it is my life, and it is on my plate. There are no other roads I get to travel down, the only control I have is how I look at it, my attitude.
Time and time again this medical stuff has reminded me, brutally, bluntly, painfully, how not in control of things I am. Yes, technically there was another procedure that did not have this side effect.  But that was not the knowledge I had available to me, not the decision I made.  So, I live with this right now.  A brain stem is crucial to life, the breathing, heart beating side of it all.  But I get to choose what kind of life to lead.  It doesn't always feel like a choice, but it is.   And so, so cheesy but true: I am so happy to be living this life. I feel a deep joy... and thankfulness.


  1. You said it best: " I am thinking I have quite enough of this shit." It's been 4 years since I had a stroke, and I am SO tired of this.

    1. We get to continue on down this path regardless. Good, bad, ugly, we get it all. I just know I am a bit less impatient toward life. It is what it is. We just gotta get feisty, as tired as we may be.