Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is Where I Stand

Before I start this entry, I wish to say that at around the same time I sent out my previous entry, I received word that my Great Aunt had passed away peacefully. Things are not easy for many of my family and I ask you to keep them in your thoughts.

Ok, this is the entry I intended to write yesterday. Forgive me if it seems a bit... disheveled but the formulation of my feelings has come over several days and many, many discussions. Furthermore, this is the first time I've put them in writing when I wasn't being prompted after every sentence for specific details. :)

My decision is that I will not do anything until I receive the sign that I have been waiting for. We must all remember that I have yet to have a "symptom" of this brain tumor that would cause it to be discovered. Prior to being told that I have a brain tumor, I was out playing catch in the yard with my son and I intend to continue doing so for as long as I am able. I will not sacrifice the good times I am yet to have for a diagnosis that is yet to be "found".

I have had many people totally fight me on this stand. They believe that I am playing Russian roulette with my life and to be honest, I am. I'm taking chances no matter what path I choose. It doesn't matter where I go from here, because there are risks in both directions. However, when looking at it from my point of view, I am ahead of the game.

Think of it this way... say that I have never had an MRI of my head. Tomorrow, I develop a headache that just won't go away. I try for weeks to get it to disappear. (Yes, I'm stubborn enough it would take weeks.) When it doesn't go away no matter what I try, I finally go to the doctor. He gives me meds to try and tells me to return in a week. Again they don't go away and we repeat this cycle two or three times. Finally, he decides that we should probably do a CT Scan to see what is up there. After two weeks I am finally able to get a CT Scan and it shows something questionable but in a CT it is indistinguishable so they ask for an MRI. So now, finally, after 8-10 weeks I have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. At this point it is causing more severe symptoms than headaches and our time is limited. Furthermore, all the things I now know and the process I am now taking has to still be completed. Do you think just because my time may be more limited that I will leave my family to deal with it unprepared?

However, this scenario won't occur now. When that headache starts and won't go away, I know what is causing it and I can be in surgery within just a few weeks. I have things prepared for my family so that I can be mentally and emotionally prepared for this. Do you see where this approach allows us to be prepared yet not rush into things?

This very approach is why I've chosen to not think of surgery as an immediate option. I will listen to what the doctors have to say. I will ask the hard questions now so that I am fully prepared. I will finish the things I need to do. I will not hide from the obvious signs that God sends my way. Rather I will take the bull by the horns and do what I must.

Now I understand that many of you do not know me as a real person, but many of you do. I have asked over a dozen people how they would describe me to someone who asked about me. Some made the snide comment that I'm short but when all was serious they used words like: ambitious, compassionate, bubbly, helpful, and good natured. Note that not a one (other than the joke about being short) mentioned any physical characteristics of me. I am not a physical person. The very means of who I am is my personality and it's the first thing people remember. My personality is what makes me and it is the one thing about me that I would be most devastated to lose. The statistics of surgery are menial when you look at them in the long run, but the statistics they can't give you are, Who will I be when I come out of surgery? It is not conceivable, giving the way the brain works, that I can walk into surgery being the Amy everyone knows and walk out being that same person. Therefore, if I'm not me, then who am I?

These are the kinds of things I weighed in making my decision to wait on surgery. I know many of you have read the comment that a good friend left about symptoms when dealing with a brain tumor. Yes, I fully believe that our infertility problems are indirectly related to the tumor. Other than that, I can't honestly say that any of the "minor" symptoms that arise could convince me to go with surgery now rather than wait. Yes, if I become a total bitch and my personality changes to the point I am no longer recognizable as me, I'd do it... but that is what it would take. I am watching out for myself and I have tons of people who are looking out for me and have promised to tell me if they see something significant.

Believe me that the decision to wait has not been taken lightly. Believe me that I realize there are risks with waiting just as there are risks with doing surgery right now. Believe me that I know that there is no right answer. Believe me that, although I am not afraid of death, I am not ready to leave. Believe me that I will not be going anywhere any time soon. I have friends to hug, a brother to tease, future nieces and nephews to spoil, a husband to take care of and love, and most importantly a son to raise.

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