Surgery it is
Today I gave my docs the green light to schedule my second brain surgery for next Wednesday afternoon. Everyone — including the outside experts I consulted — agrees that this is the best move to make right now to keep me on track for long-term survival. GBM tumors are not to be trifled with. The plan is to go back into my head through the same portal that they created for the first surgery — as if it were the door to a cuckoo clock. I have authorized the neurosurgeon to remove a 2.3-inch section of my right temporal lobe surrounding the old tumor cavity and including the small area of new concern that showed up on my latest MRI, as well as a bit extra for a margin of safety. Then they’ll just close the cuckoo-clock door and wheel me off to the recovery room. The whole thing shouldn’t take more than a couple hours.
I expect to have a hospital stay of 2-4 days, and have human-wave attacks of siblings rolling into town to take care of the house and the dogs and me until I get back on my feet. That shouldn’t be long at all, based on how I bounced back last July after surgery. And this time I won’t be getting wiped out by follow-up radiation. But depending on what the docs learn from the tissue specimen they remove, I will resume some form of a chemotherapy maintenance program sometime soon.
This surgery will not affect my day-to-day functionality at all going forward, the surgeon says. One of my other docs described this as “some of the most useless real-estate in your brain.” (Thanks for the topical metaphor, Doc. But I’m hoping your medical opinion would have been the same even before the housing bubble burst.) If I were a left-hander, the story would be different. But as it is, the only aftereffects I might experience are some small changes in my short-term memory capacity (which will give me a good excuse for blowing off chores and showing up late for meetings) and some lessened ability to distinguish certain musical notes from one another (so I’m already throwing out my John Coltrane DVD library and replacing it with the Slim Whitman catalogue).
I’ve also submitted the following list of additional side-effects that I’d like to have included with my brain-surgery package:
- The sudden inability to hear the sound of leaf-blowers, right-wing TV pundits and other annoying noises.
- Onset of total blackouts when the Orlando Magic fall 10 points or more behind in the fourth quarter of any playoff game.
- A rare condition known as “Facebook Blindness,” which will render me unable to detect all status updates and discussion threads relating to Farmville or the final episode of “Lost.”
- The mysterious capacity to enter and win this year’s Tour de France, the premier, 20-stage, 2,200-mile bicycle race which begins July 3rd and runs through July 25.
So there it is. My docs are checking with my insurance company to see if those and other deluxe side-effects I’ll think of later can be included under my current coverage plan.
Meanwhile, thanks for all your continued support on this blog. It’s been a huge part of getting me through this ordeal with my spirits high. I’ll check back in with another update as soon as there is news worth reporting and I am able to report it.
PS: I’m accepting any and all additional suggestions for “deluxe side effects” that I can request, so if you have any good ideas please leave them in a comment. This game might even be more fun than playing Farmville.