Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beginnings - Five Words that Change Lives

Even though it's been almost four weeks, everything seems to be very vivid in my mind. It had been a rough week having to deal with doctors and getting the MRI set up with all the proper tests. I really hate dealing with doctors and this incident was no exception, but I'll get into that and the reason I was having the MRI in the first place in another entry.

Anyway, we finally had everything sorted out I went in on a nice Wednesday morning bright and early (7:45 AM) to have my MRI done. I spoke with the tech for a while before and we agreed that we'd do as thorough a scan as possible on the trigeminal (the reason I was there) without contrast and would only do the contrast if it seemed necessary. The MRI was no big deal. MRI's are pretty minor just a bit noisy and boring. I can go into MRI details another time for those that are like me and like to know everything they can about something so that there are absolutely no surprises. I had been in there for several scans and probably 45 minutes when I didn't hear the tell-tale "Ok, Amy, that one's over, is everything ok?" I was starting to get worried as it didn't come for what seemed like an eternity. I was actually beginning to think that they forgot about me and went to lunch or something! But, alas, a few minutes later they came in and pulled me out of the machine. Thinking I was done, I was relieved.

It was not meant to be that way. She proceeded to tell me they had sent my scans to the on-call radiologist and that he had said it would be to my benefit to do the contrast so that we didn't have to do this again. They agreed to do it with a simple injection and we'd be done. I agreed. (I'll explain the problem with the contrast another time. If I put all the little details in now, this will be fifty pages long.) They did the injection, finished the scans, and I was allowed to go change. However, she wanted me to wait for her to speak with my doctor. I had MRIs in the past, this was not normal. This was sign number two that something was wrong. I wasn't sure what, but something.

Now I should tell you that based on my symptoms causing the MRI, I now immediately began to believe that the worst outcome I had researched was indeed the diagnosis. In my research I decided that there was a chance that I had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and I had decided that I could live with that if I needed to. So, although I now knew they saw something of concern, I was not near as nervous as I probably should have been.

Sure enough, after about 10 minutes waiting for her to return, she came out and told me that my GP (General Practitioner) would like to see me before I went back to work to discuss the results. My thoughts were confirmed that this was either what they had originally suspected in a hematoma or what I suspected in MS. I went to my car and called my husband to let him know what was going on so far. He asked me if I wanted him to drive 30 plus miles to go to the doctor with me and I assured him I was prepared for this and I'd call him when it was all said and done. I will now admit it would have been nice to have him there but I'm not sure I would have been able to handle the words the way I did if he was so maybe it's better this way.

I got to my doctor's office around 9:20 and waited for them to call me into a room. I knew when he walked in that the news was not good but, holding on to the theory that I knew what he was going to say, I remained calm. That's when he told me, not that I had MS, but that I had a brain tumor. I think it took quite a bit of time for the words to sink in, then I laughed. Yeah, I laughed. It was the one possible diagnosis that I had immediately dismissed as not possible when I had done my research. He went on to tell me that it was a large, benign tumor in the right frontal lobe of the brain. He said that it was unrelated to the reason I had the MRI in the first place and that obviously my brain had been doing it's job because I was a normal, healthy person that had obviously no problems caused from it. At some point he also told me that it was called a Glioma.

Unfortunately, my GP is not familiar with brain tumors because I remember him vividly telling me it covered a large portion of the frontal lobe of my brain. (Don't worry, he had his understanding incorrect, it is not that large.) At the time, it obviously terrified me, but looking back I realize that he was probably seeing the swelling (both tumor caused and from the trauma causing the MRI in the first place) and thought the whole thing was tumor. I'll forgive him no doctor can know everything.

Finally, he mentioned that with technology now-a-days it should be able to be safely removed and I gave my normal reply of "there will be no surgery". (Just another thing I'll have to explain some day) He nodded, having been through this with me in the past, and asked if I'd at least see a neurosurgeon. That I don't have a problem with so that was agreed on. In an attempt to make me feel better he said something to this effect: "Usually it takes a long time to get into a neurosurgeon, but I don't think we'll have any trouble getting you in very quickly." I looked at him in shock at this statement. I replied with, "That didn't make me feel any better, Doc," and laughed yet again. I wanted to hear, "It takes a while to get into a neurosurgeon so expect a date 3 to 6 months from now. It shouldn't be a problem."

We made some small talk because I think he was making sure I was ok, and I left his office. I remember thinking to myself on my way to my car that I need one of two things. 1 - I need enough time to raise my son or 2 - I need enough time to get all my affairs into order so that I can ensure that my husband and son are taken care of. I'm sure that's not the typical response of someone 28 years old who was just told something that would change and possibly take their life. However, you'll learn in my blog, I'm not the typical 28 year old. My next task at hand was talking to those that had a "need" to know what was going on and that's what I had to focus on for the time being.

This is getting long so I'll get into the story of telling those close to me in another entry. There were various people who "needed" to be told and each had their own way of dealing with it. However, like I said, it's not really the time for that.

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