My life has changed is the last 45 days. Completely, drastically, and permanently.
In 2001, I had the kind of year that people write books about. The kind of year nobody would believe if you shared the story at a party. I had the kind of year I’ve never written the book about for fear nobody would believe me. In 2001, I was the 1% that almost died due to pregnancy complications, and I lost a baby girl. My husband’s Grandma passed away from liver cancer. We got audited by the IRS (yep, that really happens) and ended up paying $4000. And all of this happened as we were moving from Hawaii to Florida (remember Hubs was Active Duty). And then my house got hit by lightening. It’s was the kind of year that we could only laugh and declare “bring it on!”. It was either that or cry.
Somehow, in the magic number of 13 years later, we’re having another year that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write a book about because it’s so absurd, so unbelievable that I don’t even think I could pass it off as fiction. I have several people in my life that are always telling me to write a book, and I really want to share at least some of my story, if for no other reason than to let someone else know they aren’t the only one in the 1%, but I keep saying no one would believe me.
2014 is shaping up to be a strange year, and I knew it would be a year of transition, but I never counted on the absurdity that is my life invading.
In April I got a referral from my pain specialists to a neurosurgeon because I kept complaining of more pain and more headaches. That particular doctor hasn’t really ended up being of much use….but I’m getting ahead of myself.
He decided that I wasn’t “surgical”, ordered a brain MRI (mostly to shut me up), and moved on. It took me 6 weeks to get everyone of the same page (referral, insurance, and hospital where the MRI was going to be). I finally had my first MRI on June 9. In the middle of getting the needed referrals and appointments for the MRI, my pain specialist then referred me to a neurologist because I have migraines and the arthritis in my neck causes a lot of headaches. I ended up having my first appointment with the neurologist on June 13 and she was able to pull up my MRI results as part of my intake with her.
She did a neuro exam on me, establishing me as a patient, and then informed me that my MRI had an abnormality on it and I would need a second MRI with contrast and a particular set of views on a specific area of my brain. For those of you playing along at home, it’s called IAC protocol. I had the referral and the appointment within the hour.
Now, in the middle of everything else, between phone calls to the insurance company and raising hell with the doctor’s office for the referral I needed, we decided to buy a house. Hubs just retired last October from 24 years of Active Duty and I’ve waited a long time to have my own house. No more rentals or living in Navy housing….we finally get our own home. After spending a couple of months looking through ads and walking through a few houses that were NOT going to be worth what we paid, we decided to jump in and have a house built. Because of where we live, it’s pretty much the same amount of money to build a house in one of the new developments as it is to buy a 10-20 year old house, so we’re building a house.
On May 31, our 14 year old Border Collie passed away. In the midst of life, we are in death. We brought her home at 7 weeks old and almost exactly 14 years later we said goodbye to her. She’ll be in our new home as part of a tree we’ll plant with her ashes in the Spring.
Fast forward back to the second MRI, which happened much quicker than the first one. I had the referral and appointment within an hour, and my scan was one week after my appointment with the neurologist, on June 20.
I spent a week chasing down the results because apparently everyone that changes practices (my PCM) or goes on vacation (everyone else!!) does so at the end of June. When I finally got my results, the report confirmed that I have a meningioma. I have the kind of brain tumor that only about 6500 people a year are diagnosed with, and mine happens to be on the underside of the brain, near the brain stem, sitting up against the 5th cranial nerve.
The next step was an EEG. Which, by the way, not as much fun as you think it might be. It’s just like in the movies with all the wires on your scalp and the lines across the screen, but the flashing lights and hyperventilating….no so much fun.
I got the EEG result today (which is what inspired this incredibly long blog) and I have “intermittent bilateral frontal spike discharge”, which I *think* means all those times that I forget the word I want in the middle of a sentence and I sound like an idiot….yeah, it appears it’s a type of seizure. Or something.
So I’m off to the neurosurgeon tomorrow. The incredible thing about all of this is that I live in a part of the country that has some really great doctors. My neurosurgeon, the one that I’m taking 2 discs of MRI images and reports for each and my EEG report, is the head of neurosurgery at Georgetown University. I guess if you have a brain tumor, this is the place to live.
But….the whole point of this ridiculously long and rambling story is that inside of 30 days this summer: we signed a contract to have a house built, my dog died, and I got diagnosed with a brain tumor.
You can’t make this stuff up.
(I’m trying to blog my way through this process so hopefully someone else that’s going through diagnosis and treatment for a meningioma has some info and some hope!)