I had been sick for months (migraines, fatigue, weird infections, brain fog, crazy short attention span, bizarre emotions, etc.) when an 8-day migraine and subsequent ice-pick headaches finally meant that it was time for an MRI. July 7th. That's the day my world changed. I had barely left the MRI place when an on-call radiologist called me to tell me the big news. Brain. Tumor. I am sure other words were said, but those two are the only ones that mattered. Brain. Tumor.
Well, fuck. Life was just getting really good.
I want to do a few things with this post:
Okay, as everyone seems to love to say, "it is what it is" (what does that even mean, anyway?) So, now what? Among other things, brain surgery. Yep, they are going to crack my skull open to evict Gertrude on Thursday (August 3rd @ 10:30). Apart from being able to make jokes about the hole in my head. . . it's basically a big suck fest. It seems that no one really knows what will happen. When they start cutting on the old grey matter. . .well, shit happens. So, I could be back at work before the Halloween candy goes on clearance. . .or. . .well, any number of icky possibilities. So much unknown. So much complete loss of "control". (yes, I saw Days of Thunder. I know that control is an illusion).
Gertrude is a 4*3cm meningioma, or at least that is the assumption. We won't really know what she is until pathology tells us.
Thursday morning I will start my day with another MRI. This one will entail having spots on my head shaved and "cheerios" glued to my head. I guess it's some kind of brain surgery GPS system. I hope it works better than my TomTom.
At 10:30 I will go into surgery. They will cut a flap of skin on the right side of my head, remove a piece of skull, and well. . .evict Gertrude. The whole thing is supposed to take 4-6 hours. But they won't really know until they get in there. It depends on how feisty this Gerty bitch is. Hopefully, she is simple and cooperative . . . and comes right out.
Next I will be in recovery for an hour or two, then moved to ICU for 24 hours.
The average hospital stay for this type of surgery is 4-7 days, but again. . they really don't know. Some people go home in two days, some stay for weeks.
I have been on leave from my day job for a couple of weeks now. I really don't know when (if) I will be able to return to work. I have also stopped coaching clients and working on my WellCoaches certification for now. I want to thank all my practice clients who have been so gracious and supportive. I look forward to getting back to coaching and to work. Hopefully we will know more of a timeline post-eviction.
In a non-Gertrude related twist of fate, my ex-husband and I had just started seeing each other again the same week I was diagnosed. We were trying to date casually and not jump right back in to living together, but between my care, school for the ginger, and finances. . . we decided the best course of action was for me to give up my apartment and for the ginger and I to move in with him full time. It has been loads of work, both physical and emotional. With the help of a couple of friends (thanks Jenn & Laura!!) and some professional movers, we got moved this past Thursday. The house is in an upheaval, and the garage is absolute chaos, but we're getting there.
I am getting used to country life. . . things like when a fox interrupted my morning pages and coffee by eating some chickens. . .yeah, that never happened in the city. It's quiet and peaceful out here. Probably a very good choice for recovery, not that my upstairs neighbor stomping around won't be missed.
My days are spent unpacking and cooking, between naps. I never realized how exhausting one little tumor could be, but I get worn out (& distracted) FAST.
How to Help / The Details
As I mentioned, surgery is this Thursday, August 3rd at Menorah in Overland Park, KS. I will be in ICU the first 24-hours or so after surgery. Once I am released to a regular room on the surgery floor, I will be allowed to have visitors. Mark Bryant will be the point of contact for status updates and questions. If you need his phone number, please IM or text me and I will send it to you.
Okay, so now is the part where I ask for what I need. . .not my strong suit, so bear with me.
Food - this is a big concern for me. I have oodles of newly diagnosed food sensitivities that were found during the what-is-wrong-with-me phase of finding our friend Gertrude. Even before the discovery of these sensitivities, I am in the habit of spending a great deal of time, energy and money to feed myself whole, healthy food (Paleo). So, the thought of how to eat or how to have other people feeding me is a source of anxiety.
Things I can't have:
Beta-Casein (dairy protein - in pretty much all dairy products except butter)
Coconut (incl coconut oil)
The amazing women at Bulk It have offered to put together meals for me while I am in the hospital. Call them or stop by and they will fix something up for me (smoothies, kumboocha, tamales, fresh juice, salad bar, etc.). Nancy, Sarah & the whole Bulk It crew will handle the details of feeding me well. The types of things that they will send are things that will keep well, so don't feel like it needs to be a meal time in order to be of benefit. I promise that anything they prepare for me WILL GET EATEN. While I am in the hospital, they can even make deliveries for people who are out of town. (we haven't worked out the details of who may be able to bring me things from the city once I am back home - stay tuned).
A meal train has been set up for once I am home (estimated August 10th). Please bear in mind that Mark, the ginger & my caregivers will need to eat too. They eat pretty much anything, so if you want to bring something and all of my restrictions are beyond your scope, feel free to bring something 'normal' for them. Just make sure it's labeled as such. Find the details of the meal train here.
Money - Money is obviously a concern. I will be out of work for at least 2-3 months, possibly more. I will have thousands of dollars in medical and related expenses. If you are able to make a cash donation to help offset these expenses, please visit my You Caring page. At this writing, $410 dollars has been raised. Thank you all so much! I know that most of us don't have an extra pile of money laying around to help someone else out, so it humbles me and warms my heart to see so many people making sacrifices of their own needs for me.
Physical Help - If cooking or donating are not your thing but you still want to help, here are a few things that we could use help with. If any of these things are something you would be interested in doing, please send me an email via the contact page, Facebook, or by text.
Love & Hugs!
Jules Warner - Author
Thanks for reading my ramblings.