I have been writing about my experiences living with a brain tumour and the surgery to remove a brain tumour for 5 months. On March 18th of this year I was diagnosed with a meningioma that I promptly named Timmy. It was a long couple of months of patiently waiting to see what the next step would be. There was always a next appointment, another scan, or test. It was a process that seemed like an eternity but really it was less than 8 months from the initial head pain that sent me to the doctor until the surgery to remove the tumour.
Timmy was removed on August 7th. On August 12 five days after surgery I was released from the hospital. The recovery thus far has been so fast in comparison to all of the waiting pre-op. When I first got home I spent the better part of the first couple of days in my pj’s resting. My lovely parents were here with my husband to take care of the kids and I so I actually got to rest.
I was told before surgery that I could expect to be sensitive to light and sound after surgery, and I was very sensitive to light for a few days. I am still sensitive to sound 2 weeks later. The surgeon advised that it could take 4 weeks until my hearing went back to normal. My son was crying the other day and I couldn’t tell where he was, I went looking for him in the house only to discovery him outside. I am not hearing everything with an echo anymore so there is defiantly an improvement. I can tell that my hearing is slowly coming back, but it has been a bit of a process.
Thankfully I am no longer dizzy when I stand up or when I walk because that was beyond annoying. We live in a two-story house and for a while I was gripping the railing for dear life. I am pretty happy that phase is behind me.
The bruises are almost healed. In another week I suspect that you won’t be able to see all of the places that I was poked for IV’s. The spot where I had the central line in my neck is still noticeable and I am going to guess that I will have a scar once it is totally healed. For the better part of two weeks I had a lovely bruise on my neck that looked like a hickey and then my neck bruised all the way to my collar-bone. Very attractive.
The staples that were holding the incision together were removed exactly one week after surgery, and then I got to wash my hair. It was a very exciting day even though I needed a spotter in the shower. I still wasn’t very steady and it was a long process to wash all of the surgery crud out of my hair. It has never felt better to wash my hair because it was crusted to my head.
They like tape in the hospital. For days after I was home I had tape residue all over my body. Most of it was a mystery. It’s like the crop circles of surgery. Why on earth was there a tape square on my belly?
There were a few surprises in the process besides the ECG pads and tape that I found still adhered to my body days after surgery. I didn’t realize that my hearing would be so impacted. I didn’t realize that the central line would cause my neck to be so sore for so long. I didn’t anticipate that my right hip would be sore when I woke up every morning because I am not moving in my sleep, I am only sleeping on the side of my head that wasn’t cut open. I have had some digestion issues as a result of the diet and medication that I didn’t count on. I was shocked that my leg muscles became total mush in the three days I was in bed. But most importantly I didn’t think that I would heal so quickly. I really thought that I would be medicated, in bed and dizzy for much longer than I was. In about 10 days I was off all medication. Within three days of surgery I was up and walking around and the dizziness lasted for about a week.
Now two weeks later I am up and about. I can’t drive yet, bending down to pick up Lego is on the “Do Not Do” list and I will not be scrubbing floors in the near future but other than that life is slowly returning to normal. In the midst of all of the brain tumour madness I received the news that I passed all of my exams in July and successfully completed the Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, the first step in the pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. In the same week I received a call from the neurosurgeon’s office that my pathology report had come back and that the tumour was completely benign (which the surgeon had told me) and Grade 1 (which is the most common type of meningioma and it is unlikely to grow back). Three years ago also in August I had my second child and graduated with a Bachelor of Design in the same week. At the time I didn’t think that I would ever have a week like that again but last week was a close second.
I will be resting for the next two weeks in preparation for the start of a new school year. My oldest goes back to school, my youngest starts pre-school and I return as a graduate student. Just because he doesn’t want to be left out my husband will resume flight school. Here’s to the last two weeks before we all get back to school because it might actually be like a summer vacation.