Saturday, August 25, 2007

Beginnings - Talking with an Unexpected Angel

It was Saturday, John was working, and I had a lot of things on my mind. I had a list of at least 60 things I needed to accomplish, just in case the doctor was wrong or at the least before I had the biopsy. However, I still had a desperate need for answers, information, and just someone to talk to.

Through my employer we have a helpline that we can call for help with medical issues. I had never called them before but I thought I might as well see if they have any information for me. I know this program employs over 20,000 nurses who help out the program. What are the odds in that number to get someone who would have any experience in what I was going through? Again I went against the odds.

I talked with the male nurse for several minutes about my fears, questions, and thoughts before he stopped me. "I used to work as a nurse in the OR for a neurosurgeon. Let me try to explain every thing I can." He went on to tell me that my doctor seemed to be handling things the way any good neurosurgeon would. He told me more information about my tumor, including that it typically goes through "growing stages", that they estimate several thousand people a year die having one and never know it, and that I'm in a good position with it having not yet caused me symptoms. He assured me that there were many great things on the horizon when dealing with brain tumors and that my fears and questions were normal and that I was handling it with the right steps. It felt good to be reassured by someone who had seen many in a similar position. This was also the first time I heard about Gamma Knife, although it was mentioned as a procedure not necessarily an option.

I honestly can't tell you most of what was talked about in that conversation but I do know it was a turning point for me in my journey. Some of the things he said to clarify things, got me to thinking and although it wasn't his intention, it ultimately determined my decision to not do the biopsy at this time, to seek a second opinion, and to explore Gamma Knife further. I know we will probably never speak again and that he probably doesn't even remember our conversation in the thousands he's probably dealt with, but he was my angel that day.

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