It’s official, and has been for a couple months.
I will be getting brain surgery to remove a tumor that has been in my brain for nearly 20 years.
It never was a problem before. It always has been fairly small, and never caused any issues. I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis when I was just a baby. Since I was maybe 4 years old, I have had about 20 or so MRI’s to monitor my brain. When I was younger, I had about 5 tumors in my brain, one of which was behind my eye. All benign of course. I was in a car accident in 2007, and had a series of MRI’s done to make sure everything was fine. Nothing had changed since the previous scans. I went 3 years without having another MRI. Everything was fine. Aside from the usual memory issues, I was just fine. No pain or anything. When I went back to California (home) for Christmas break, I decided that I would get an MRI done since it had been 3 years. So I did. My Neurologist wanted to see my previous scans from 2007, so the next day I brought him a disc with the images on them. This was on the 20th or so. On the 29th, 2 days before I was leaving to go to Boston, he called me. Not the office, but him personally. He called me to tell me that there had been changes over the past 3 years. There was growth, and the tumor picked up some contrast. I say “the” tumor, because only one showed up. All the others must have gone away over time. Anyway, that one had grown. He didn’t say how much, but it did, which was scary enough. He told me that I needed to come in that day for another MRI. One that would do a close up image of the lower cerebellum. Of course, I freaked out. I called the mother of a child I was supposed to watch that day first. I then called my girlfriend, and then my dad. My mom was asleep in the next room, so I updated her after I got off the phone. Naturally, I was really scared. My dad ended up going to the appointment with me. The MRI itself was not a big deal. A few hours after the appointment, my doctor called me with the results. There was nothing too new at that point. Just the things I already knew…that it had grown, and that it picked up some of the contrast solution. He said that he was going to look at the images with a clinic in Redwood City for a closer examination, and that he would call me back in a few weeks. 2 days later, I left for Boston anxious to here from him.
I can’t even remember what day it was when he called me. I just remember that I was at an Allison Weiss concert with my (at the time) girlfriend. I recognized the number, so I stepped out of the room. I knew that it wasn’t good news. He spoke slowly and carefully. Talking in circles almost, in attempt to avoid immediately telling me what was going on. At this point, my hand was to my chest, and my breath was short. He told me that I needed to come back in a couple of weeks (though he suggested that weekend) to meet with a Neurosurgeon and discuss getting the tumor removed. He still said that he thought it to be benign, but that it was likely to be more of a high grade tumor, compared to the 2007 results.
I ended up flying back to California the week of Valentines Day. I met with another Neurologist to discuss my case. She observed me and ordered another MRI. I asked how much it had grown, and she pointed out on the image that it had doubled. In 2007 it was 7mm, and at this point, it was 15mm. Which is 1.5cm. Significantly bigger. 2 days later, I met with the Neurosurgeon. That was a hard day. I sat in traffic and in waiting rooms longer than needed. My dad was with me the whole day. I had an MRI of my brain in the morning, and met with the Neurosurgeon in the afternoon. She was very stoic. We discussed the placement of the tumor and how she would go about removing it. I tried to remain calm. I think I was fairly good at it. I asked her how long I could wait. And she said that she doesn’t even want to wait 2 months, but understood that I needed to finish off my semester first. So we decided on May 26.
It’s a 4-6 week recovery. 2-3 days in the hospital. I won’t know until after the surgery if it’s cancerous and/or if I will need more treatment. No driving. No flying (unless necessary). Just a lot of laying down and watching movies.
So that’s the scoop. I am just taking it one day at a time.
Why did I decide to post this now?
Well, not only is the date 2 months away from today, but I watched a video that really made me think about this quite a bit. You would all find out eventually.
Love you all.