Hey everyone, just checking in to thank you all for the wonderful messages and phone calls and also to give you a quick update on how I’ve been doing since I got home from the hospital late Friday night. Because of the nature of the operation this time, there’s been significantly more pain — not horrible, unbearable pain, but just like a really bad headache. Last time most of the pain was limited to the area immediately around the surgical incision. This time, they took out more brain tissue so there’s a bit of an air pocket in there that is allowing for swelling that causes pain. Sometimes if I move around too quickly my brain feels like it’s clattering around there inside my head like an old eight-track tape in an empty glovebox.
But I’m on painkillers as needed as well as steroids to lessen the swelling, so it’s all very manageable. Besides staying on top of the pain, I’ve been getting tons of rest. That feels great just to lounge around with eyes closed and get the sense of myself healing. I’m being well fed and taken care of by my sisters Kathleen and Ellen. Kathleen and her husband Richie left this morning, and Ellen will be here until this Wednesday. After that, my brothers will be coming to town. So I should be in pretty good shape a week or so from now. The dogs are very happy to see me too, and haven’t missed a walk or a meal.
All in all, the docs are very happy with the results of the surgery. They cut everything out of there they were going in after, and they didn’t have to take as much of my right temporal lobe as they thought they might have. That means I’ll be stuck with a decent short-term memory capacity after all. I’ll go in for a follow-up visit sometime next week to get the sutures removed and probably to learn the results of the tissue analysis from what was removed. There’s an outside chance that the “area of concern” on my pre-surgical MRI could all have been a bunch of scar tissue and other so-called “treatment effects” from radiation and chemo — as opposed to new tumor cells. That would of course be the best possible outcome. But either way, I’m going to be in good shape and will continue to be able to manage this thing with follow-up chemo if need be.
There was some weird stuff about my hospital stay after surgery. First of all, nothing is more frustrating than having a broken wall clock in your recovery room. My whole time in ICU, I was unable to orient myself in time and had no idea how long my surgery had taken or how long I was in there. My surgery went from around 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and I spent the night in ICU all jacked up on morphine. The clock was stuck on 4 p.m. (or a.m.?) the whole time. They moved me upstairs Thursday morning and started feeding me regular food in a regular room on the neurological floor. By Friday morning, my neurosurgeon had decided I was doing well enough that he could send me home once I got an MRI. But there’s the rub–I waited around in my room 8 hours before I could get in for the MRI — so it was very frustrating. And I also learned that the second hardest thing after an MRI to get on short notice in a hospital is a simple Tums tablet. Laying around on my back all day was starting to give me heartburn — but when I asked for a Tums they had to formally request one from the drug dispensary. It took six or seven hours to get it to me. Remind me to start a future, lucrative career as an illegal Tums trafficker in a hospital. I think I could make millions.
That’s about all the news I have to report for now. Not much, I know, but I just wanted mainly to acknowledged all the support I’ve received from folks on Facebook, by e-mail and in phone calls. I’m really a bit too tapped out to take calls — but the e-mail stuff I’ve been able to keep up with okay. You have no idea how much your love, good wishes and support have meant to me. They truly bring me the power I need to heal.
I am confident I will be back up and about and back to work in fairly short order. Thank you for all of your help in getting me there.
I’ll keep updating things here on this blog as much as I can.