Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite show and I inevitably find a quote or a scene from it for pretty much any and every situation. These days I have a scene from the beginning of season 6 playing through my head a lot. Season 6, episode 2 “Goodbye”, Meredith and Izzie are sitting on the bench outside of the hospital, reflecting….
Izzie: I didn’t expect this. They say cancer, they say stage 4, you expect to die. And then you start thinking, well maybe I can kick it. Maybe I’ll be the miracle.
Meredith: Well, you are the miracle.
Izzie: I’m still living with the cancer, y’know, I just… you don’t expect that.
I’m living with a brain tumor. I never expected to say that. But I fell down the stairs three times in less than 18 months, so the doctors ordered a brain MRI. Nobody expected to find anything, but they did. I have a brain tumor so deep in my brain that it makes it too difficult to get a biopsy. So they do lots of scans and they think they know what it is, but because of where it is, treatment options were limited. So I survived some pretty crazy radiation 5 months ago.
Last November, at my follow-up post-treatment appointment with my radiation oncologist and my neurosurgeon (Is it weird to have a neurosurgeon if he can’t do brain surgery?) they noted that there was no change in my tumor. They think they know what it is, but with any tumor it can be difficult to predict how it will behave. So we wait and see. My neurosurgeon alternately calls it a schwannoma and a meningioma. What they do know is that I have a tumor on the 5th cranial nerve, near my brain stem. Hence the reluctance of the surgeon to go get it out of there.
They never know if it will go through a growth spike and cause more issues. We’re still waiting to see if the radiation shrunk it. At my three month post treatment mark, it had not. But it is possible that it still could shrink. Wait and see.
So I’m living with a brain tumor. That’s not a sentence that I ever thought I would say. I don’t know if we have beat it into submission yet, or if the damn thing is going to continue to grow and kill me. I do know that I am grateful for the time and the treatment options I have had. And I know I’m a fighter. And I know this is not good-bye…..