People are curious by nature. I personally feel its the most important part of what drives our species to survive. This is a crazy thing I’m going through and I notice people ask me questions in blog comments or on the phone that I want to answer… I don’t have all the answers I want (yet) but I feel like I can answer some of them for you guys.
Q: What does your brain tumor feel like?
Nothing. Nothing at all. I don’t feel it inside my head… its like its not there. I suppose part of my subconscious knows its there and that’s why I kept pushing my doctors for more answers to begin with, but its not like I feel a bump inside my dome. My tumor is just smaller than a ping-pong ball and yet I can’t feel it. The neurosurgeons said there are no nerve endings inside the brain, which is I guess why I can’t feel anything. But then why do headaches hurt so bad?
Q: What kind of medicine are you on?
I posted this picture on Facebook the other day… I think it sums it up: a lot. None of them are for treating the cancer yet but they are all doing something for me.
First thing is Bactrim… which is basically just an antibiotic to make sure I don’t end up with some sort of infection from the operating room. Pretty simple. Makes me a little thirsty. Big pills to swallow.
For the pain they gave me Norco. This stuff works, there’s no joke about that. I don’t like taking as much as I am but its also helping me deal with side effects from surgery and other medicines. Since the operation there is some extra spacing between my skull and my brain (no surprise to most women reading this, right?) and it makes me very sensitive to sounds, lights, screaming kids and barking dogs. I feel like I want to become a librarian or something… except I don’t like books.
Then there’s Decadron… which is a steroid to help PUMP… *clap* *snap* ME UP! Actually no, not at all. Of all the medicine I think I hate this one the most. It gives me really terrible cravings for things like a smoothie or Chicken McNuggets or something else totally weird. I become a fiend. I need it, need it, need it. I’m like a pregnant woman. It also makes me bloated, which I really hate. I drink tons and tons of water and drinks all day and I feel like a balloon swelling up. This steroid is actually to reduce swelling in the brain from the surgery and from the tumor itself. The amount I’m taking of this is slowly dropping… and will eventually be gone.
And then Keppra, anti seizure stuff. I have noticed my seizures coming less frequent, but when I do have them I freak out a bit more. It was a lot easier thinking it was just a panic attack. These are pretty large pills too and they also make me thirsty. Just about everything I take makes me thirsty.
There’s a few other things I’m on nothing really worth mentioning… stuff to help with the bloating, Omega 3’s, mushroom extracts… etc. I’ll discuss that if anyone brings it up.
Q: How long have you had your tumor/cancer?
I don’t know. The doctors don’t know. Its one of those things they can guess about but does it really change anything? It would be easy to have had an MRI three years ago and not see it, then see it today. Like a before and after picture. Then I know it took three years to grow… but I don’t have that luxury.
Knowing what I know now, I can reflect back and notice odd things and try to guesstimate. Like the feeling of a lightning bolt echoing through my body, or strange pressures I would feel behind my left eye. But don’t we all have those short, insignificant experiences we just ignore? Scary thought, huh? I’m not saying everyone has brain cancer… I’m saying listen to your body. Don’t ignore it… even if its just a subtle hint. And your doctor won’t pay any attention to it unless you do so be an advocate for yourself.
Q: How did you get your brain cancer?
This is something I asked the doctor myself. You wanna know the shitty answer?
Sometimes its just unfortunate luck.
Ain’t that some bullshit.
I think about it every day now. Do I hold my cellphone on that side of my head? All my electronics charge on the left side of my bed while I sleep. I sleep mainly on my left side. I have an extra dental filling on my left side. Is it something in my diet? A million questions all a little late.
Q: How do you feel in general?
In a single word: “irritable”. Everything from the surgery recovery to the medicine just makes me feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the time. I hate it. I feel bad because I take it out on my kids, my wife, my family and friends… and yet I honestly have no control over it. I have to pause and remind them that I love them and that I don’t mean it. I’m like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I hate it.
Q: What have you been doing to pass the time?
A bunch of nothing and yet everything. I love spending time outside in the backyard. I’ll have a cup of tea in the morning and just listen to the birds chirp. I used to think birds chirping was stupid and annoying, but I love it now. I enjoy feeling the sun on my face. I love going on a walk with my wife around the block every night. We never go the same way… I don’t want a routine. I just want to be outside and breathe fresh air and talk to my wife about everything and nothing all at once.
I find myself reading Facebook a lot. I never really did before. I love seeing what my friends are up to and seeing that everyone is doing well. Knowing that my friends and family are healthy and living life is something I didn’t ever take the time to notice. I know why people love Facebook drama because it makes everything seem so important… but no drama is so much better.
And as you can see I blog a lot now… way more than ever. I have this crazy story to tell and still maintain the capacity to share it… so that’s exactly what I’m doing. I know there are other people out there in my situation, or worse, or better, or maybe not in my situtation at all… but they are curious by nature and have questions.
So I leave you with this: if you do have questions… ask away.
I’ll be here.