My brain-iversary

 

My Brain 1On August 7th 2015 I went into the hospital to have a meningioma tumour removed from my brain. The experience was no picnic, but I survived and a year later I am thriving. I blogged all about my brainy experiences pre and post surgery, and if you are interested in the gory details they are all there in the BRAIN TUMOUR tab at the top of every page.

I celebrated the one-year anniversary of having my skull cut open and Timmy the tumour extracted, on August 7th, 2016. It was a monumental occasion for me and one that I am thrilled to be able to celebrate. Timmy the tumour lived in the cerebellum region of my brain which is the part of the brain that coordinates muscular activity. Pre-surgery I had some issues with dizziness, headaches and was advised to limit my activities to those that would not increase my blood pressure. I also had to keep my wine intake to a minimum as my balance wasn’t exactly ideal.

Continue reading

Advertisements

27 Canadians a day are diagnosed with a brain tumour, I WAS one of them.

BT posterOn March 18th of last year I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and it was life changing. I believe that no one should hear the words “you have a brain tumour”, but it will probably continue to happen. Which is why it is so important for me to support organizations like the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada that help those of us unfortunate enough to have heard those words.

This is why I’m fundraising for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Patients and families need information, support and education. We also need more research. There are too few treatments for this disease and survival needs to be improved. Continue reading

A Year Later, I am a Survivor

A year ago today, on March 18, 2015 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was a very dark day. The ER doc softened the blow as best as he could but I was still in shock standing in the hallway of the emergency department.  I remember walking out of the ER in a daze to wait for my husband who was organizing childcare for the kids. When he arrived I told him I had a brain tumour and he didn’t believe me. He tried to tell me that I didn’t, and I showed him the paper in my hand that said I did.

That was a year ago, and a lot has happened since. There were a dark few days but I was motivated my by children to get my crap together and get out of bed, which is where I would have stayed if I had my way. A craniotomy to remove the tumour was performed in August of 2015. The entire process was terrifying and painful. Six months later I have some very minimal side effects but nothing that stops me from living a full life. Case in point, this past weekend I went skiing (my tumour was in the part of my brain that controls balance).

Last night I read John Grisham’s “The Tumor: A Non-Legal Thriller” and bawled through the whole thing. If you are interested it’s available for free from Amazon. Thankfully I was reading it this year and not last year because that would have been a disaster. Can you imagine reading a graphic novel about brain surgery the day before you are diagnosed with a brain tumour? Talk about bad timing. If you are going for brain surgery soon do not read this book until you have recovered. After reading Grisham’s thriller I am once again reminded how lucky I was, because it could have been so much worse. SO MUCH WORSE.

Along with the pain and fear of the last year I learned some very valuable lessons.  In keeping with my need to make, I fashioned myself this bracelet just in case I forget that I am a ssurvivorurvivor. Although I am still reminded every time I look at myself in the mirror, and the area of hair that was shaved for surgery is about 3 inches long and sticking straight out. I have started a brain tumour hair trend, I hope it never catches on, I don’t mind being the only one with crazy hair.

It’s fair to say that this was the hardest year of my life to date, but as the saying goes “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It didn’t kill me. I am stronger, but it’s probably just the titanium plate in my head 😉

 

The first 2 weeks after brain surgery

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.

L
A little help with my hearing

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.

bruises
Bruises, Yuck

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.

Lessons from Timmy

After I was transferred from ICU to Close Observation following the removal of Timmy (my previous brain tumour) there wasn’t much to do for entertainment. For the first day or so I was resting with my eyes closed, I found the lights too bright and it was a little hard to focus. I wasn’t able to read, or talk for long periods so I would just lay there and listen. My husband was by my side when visiting hours would allow but he’s pretty quiet and he just let me rest.

Being that my only real source of entertainment was the action happening in the close observation ward I listened, and listened, and listened. I was in the ward with three other people but with nursing staff, visitors, doctors, housekeeping, food services it was a hot bed of activity.

Neighbour J

The neighbour to my right was a 17 year old surfer stuck in the body of a 27 year old diabetic alcoholic that broke his back in a car accident. He was in the hospital to stabilize his back, blood sugar, and to detox before surgery. He was having some pretty crazy hallucinations, yelling out in his sleep, and was forever confused. We both had to answer the same questions everyday:

  • Do you know where you are? His answer Philadelphia
  • What month is it? October
  • What year is it? 2005

Considering that we were in the hospital in August of 2015 he was a little out of it. I also learned that he just moved here from Ontario, and Niagara more specifically which is where I grew up. He had a huge suitcase with all of his possessions in the hospital because he didn’t have anywhere to live yet. He was forever trying to get out of bed, and the nursing staff had to keep a very close eye on him. His mom would call daily to learn of his condition, and I couldn’t help but think about my own kids and how scary the situation would be if that was my child lying in the hospital far from home. As his surgery got closer I could hear how scared he was getting. The nursing staff was trying to reassure him that it would all be ok but he I could still hear the anxiety in his voice.

you got thisBy this point I had nothing but empathy for the kid because I had also panicked about my surgery. So I asked the nurse for a pen and paper and I made him a card. On the front it said “You Got This” and on the inside I wrote him a note about my experience. He went off for surgery and returned later the same day. He was in a lot of pain but he was on the road to recovery.

Neighbour M

My neighbour on the other side was an eldery man with teenage grandchildren he also had a broken back and pneumonia. He couldn’t speak and was having a hell of a time being understood. He was asked to write out what he was trying to communicate but was struggling to make the words legible. He asked for water constantly but wasn’t allowed to drink. When he needed something from the nursing staff he would bang on his tray table. He needed to cough and have his throat suctioned hourly (which was a pretty gross sound) and it probably hurt like hell.

listenI listened as his son did an amazing job advocating for him. I listened as his daughter in law lost her patience and became a total bitch. I listened as his grandchildren told him about their days. I listened to the nurses, doctors, and respiratory specialists day after day try and help this man, some with more patience than others. One doctor who treated this man was truly wonderful, he was able to communicate in a way that no one else was able to. He seemed to be able to understand the mans writing and gestures. It gave me a sliver of hope for the patient.

Because I was in the position to listen all day every day I began to understand what the man was trying to say. When he wrote electr…… and the nurses guessed electricity (and then tried to make sense of electricity) he was really trying to ask about his electrolyte levels (which had just been tested). It was hours before someone figured out that he was asking about his electrolyte levels because most people saw a man that couldn’t communicate and unfortunately saw him as confused. I came to realize that he was intelligent, and he really wanted to get better.

What I noticed was that he would start trying to explain himself to one person and very rarely did anyone have enough time to figure out what he needed. So he would continue where he left off when the next person came in. The trouble with this is that no one listened to everything he said and it took forever for them to put the pieces together. His son was really great as was one of the doctors, but everyone else could have listened harder. By the third day I could understand him and his method of communication, and from the one sided conversation I could guess what he was asking and would occasionally shout what I though he was trying to say.

The morning that I was moved to out of Close Observation a doctor came in and told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to die. He was getting worse, and they couldn’t seem to get the pneumonia under control. They asked if he wanted to go back to the ICU, but they also said that there was a pretty good chance that the ICU wouldn’t take him back. My heart was breaking for this man who was really fighting to survive.

Neighbour T

When I left the close observation unit I was moved into a semi-private room with another patient. She was a 52 year old healthcare worker that had just under gone back surgery and was simultaneously quitting smoking. She had a morphine pump, and was mobile with assistance. I learned that she had become a single mother when her husband passed away when her daughter was 5 months old. I learned that she had to bury her first born grandchild, and her teenage niece. I can’t even image how difficult life has been for her.

diamondShe has a great sense of humour and an excellent outlook on life. We got along instantly, and because I was slightly more mobile than she was I was able to get her ice packs and drinks from the bar (aka the fridge in the hall). When I was screaming out in the middle of the night she buzzed the nursing staff to check on me (which I have no recollection of) but I have done it at home since so I am sure that it probably happened. During the day we laughed so hard that it hurt both of us, it was like a sleepover party for the injured.

I also learned although she didn’t specifically say it, that she has never had much money. She mentioned that she had always wanted to buy a house but couldn’t, and that she had only been on vacation out of the country once. She described her apartment building as the worst one in the city and I knew exactly which one she was talking about. Yet both she and her daughter love people and choose to work to help others as healthcare workers. She is truly an inspiration.

Lessons from Timmy

worthitHad I not been diagnosed with a brain tumour and gone through with the process to remove it there is so much that I wouldn’t have learned. I have never been very compassionate, I have always struggled to be empathetic, I am not the best listener and even though I practice patience I still get frustrated easily. This experience has taught me how important it is not to judge others, we are all humans doing the best we can with what we have. I have learned how to be more compassionate, how to be quiet and listen, and the importance of patience. Timmy is gone and in the process I have learned so much about myself, and my husband which I am truly grateful for. Timmy is gone and now I can continue on with the lessons I have learned. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.

On the road to recovery

Before I could be discharged from the hospital they needed to make sure that my pain was manageable without heavy narcotics. To be honest I was a little worried about where they would move me to because I had been out wandering the halls of the Neurosciences ward and it was pretty scary out there. The hallways were lined with wheelchairs that belonged to the residents of the floor. Everyday there was an elderly woman parked in the same location regardless of the time. One person had decorated their room with pictures, and another moaned all day. It was all a little depressing. I was also concerned that I would be in a room with elderly men cause that would make me uncomfortable. I had learned at my pre-admission appointment that the ward rooms were co-ed and had been worried about it ever since.

Fortunately for me I was given a semi-private room with one other woman. She was lovely and I will tell you more about her in another post. When I was moved I walked from one room to another while my husband, youngest and the nurse moved my furniture and belongings. I no longer had anything but band aids and staples attached to me and it was wonderful. I decided it was time to take a shower but I still wasn’t quite 100% sturdy on my feet so my husband was nice enough to help me. It’s pretty humbling as a grown woman to get someone else to help you put on your underwear. Thankfully it was just once but it made me think about how much of my health I take for granted.

Drawing pictures in my hospital room
Drawing pictures in my hospital room

My mom had come to visit and I decided that I was ready to go outside. Neuroscience was on the sixth floor so to get outside we needed to take the elevator. When we got off on the main floor there was a huge lineup for the elevator being that one was out of service and there were only two to begin with. At the end of the line I saw a woman that was about to give birth. Even in my semi-drugged state I realized that she should have been moved to the front of the line. I asked her if she was in labour even though it was clear from her sweaty red face. She said she was going to take the stairs and my mom pointed them out. I was making a small scene telling her and everyone that could hear how rude people could be. I suggested she flag down a porter pushing a patient in a wheelchair because he could probably get her into the service elevator, and about 10 minutes later my mom went up the stairs to make sure that she wasn’t having a baby in the stair well.

The following day I went for a longer walk and tried the stairs for the first time. I made it one flight when my husband looked at me and suggested the elevator. I was still experiencing quite a bit of dizziness because the tumour was removed from the part of the brain that controls balance. I needed a little lie down after our adventure outside, it was a little sad.

My doctor had been in the day before and said that I might be able to go home on August 12th. He also said that he was going to be going Salmon fishing for the day with friends from out of town but if I was ready to go home I should have the nursing staff call him. They did call him and at 8 pm I was released. I was so happy to get out of the hospital and it was time.

My super crusty hair.
My super crusty hair.

We had to stop at the drug store on the way to get my pain prescription. My hair was crusted to my head, it still had iodine and blood in it plus 6 days of dirt. But I couldn’t wash it until I got the staples out. I thought that I would have the worst hair in the store but no, there was a young guy there that had just dyed his hair blue, and his neck, shirt and belly. No one was staring at my dirty hair, band aid on my forehead or train track staples in the back of my head.

When we got home the kids were waiting for us in bed. I was still pretty sensitive to noise, and we talked about making sure not to yell in the same room as mommy. But then the kids asked things like, can we talk? can we play trucks? what if I have a nightmare can I call you? and the rules were tossed out.

After spending 5 night in the hospital I was so happy to sleep in my own bed I made myself right at home.

IMG_20150813_135443
Home sweet home

Brain Surgery to ICU

On August 7th I had a craniotomy to remove a meningioma (brain tumour). This link explains the procedure from a medical perspective. I am sure that the patient craniotomy experience would be different from person to person but this was my mine;

  • an IV in my right arm which is where they injected the anesthesia
  • a second IV was placed in my opposite arm
  • a central line (another IV) in my neck
  • a catheter in my bladder
  • a breathing tube down my throat
  • sensors were placed in my face to monitor nerve activity and align the MRI image
  • my head was clamped in 3 placed to the operating table (2 along my hair-line in the front and one in the rear)
  • the MRI was aligned with my physical head
  • my skin was cut
  • a loonie sized piece of my skull was removed from behind my left ear
  • the tumour was removed and the point of origin was cauterised
  • a titanium plate that looks like a snowflake was screwed to my head and my skin stapled back together with 14 staples
  • a dressing was placed over the incision with 3 staples
  • when the clamps were removed my forehead started to bleed, after 15 minutes of pressure the surgeon couldn’t get the wound to stop bleeding and placed 3 staples to stop the bleeding

I was wheeled to the operating room just after 8 am, surgery was completed by 1:15 pm and I was transferred to the recovery room and at some point the breathing tube was removed. I woke up in the ICU around 2pm and man did I have a headache.

What I remember from my ICU stay was;

  • My first thought was “I am alive”
  • I had a private nurse her name was Debbi and she was lovely
  • In addition to all of the tubes mentioned above I also had oxygen tubes, a clip on my ear and a pile of wires
  • I wore electric compression stockings which filled up with air and massaged my legs, I loved them
  • throwing up within hours of brain surgery was the worst
  • my chest felt like someone was sitting on me
  • every 2 hours I had my blood pressure taken, had to squeeze the nurses fingers, wiggle my toes, raise my eyebrows, smile, shrug my shoulders, have a light flashed in my eyes, and answer questions
  • all of my pain and anti-nausea medication was given intravenously
  • the beds were cool but I hated them. The bed was similar to a massage chair where there was movement under the surface. It would have been lovely had I not just had my brain messed with, so they turned off the movement feature.
  • I had blood taken a few times from one of the IV lines
  • my eyes were crusted shut for a while
  • sleeping connected to so much stuff and being woken every 2 hours meant that I didn’t get much sleep

These are some of the pictures from my 24 hours in the ICU. It gives an idea of the shape I was in. There were 10 beds in the ICU and I was the least sick person. I can’t even imagine how the other people were feeling because I wasn’t doing too hot.

The most important thing is that Timmy was removed in his entirety and that he wasn’t cancer. The operation was a complete success.

Pre-Operation…Brain Surgery

The day before surgery I got a call to let me know that my craniotomy was scheduled for 8am the following day. I had never felt so nervous in my life as I did the night before and morning of surgery. I have never been hospitalized for an illness so this was new territory for me.

The night before surgery I went out for dinner with my husband even though I didn’t have much of an appetite. I knew that it might be days before I could eat solid foods again so we went to one of my favourite restaurants. After dinner I read the kids a couple of stories and tucked them into bed. It was a difficult thing to do knowing that I wouldn’t see them again before surgery. My husband and I went for a walk because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to walk for days. I washed my hair (because I wouldn’t be able to wash it again for 10 days), cleaned my body with surgical soap and went to bed.

IMG_20150807_065241In the morning I showered again with surgical soap, got dressed and headed to the hospital. We arrived at 2 minutes to six and were greeted by an administrative clerk that didn’t like her job. She gave us a form and sent us to the next waiting area, where we handed in the form and waited in the next waiting area. I was called into an area with 6 beds, and told to get dressed into the hospital gown and hop into bed. The nurse asked me a pile of questions, checked my temperature, blood pressure and tried to start an IV. She promised that she would only try once to start an IV. She wasn’t able to find a vein, I am sure that my veins were scared and hiding. She called my husband in so that he could wait with me. About 7:15 a porter arrived to take me upstairs. My husband walked me to the elevator, gave me a high-five and the last thing I saw was this.

FullSizeRender

I was taken to operating room waiting area with the same patients I got ready with downstairs and we were lined up side by side. While I was lying there my first visitor was the anesthesiologist, next was a nurse, followed my neurosurgeon, and then my surgeon’s resident. The first patient was wheeled away. The woman beside me was picked up by a porter and we wished each other well. Then it was my turn. My porter’s name was Pat and she had a similar surgery to mine 15 years prior. I can’t even tell you how important it was to hear her story as she wheeled my down the hall.

It was a couple of minutes after 8am when I arrived in the operating room and shifted from the gurney to the operating table. I heard someone mention something about my position and head clamping. I was introduced to four nurses, a second anesthesiologist, a second neurosurgeon (who I can only assume was the one cutting as she was wearing a full face shield). There were at least 9 people in the room but let me tell you it was like the set of Grey’s Anatomy in there. Everyone that I saw was attractive and the anesthesiologist’s were hot. I had an anesthesiologist on either side of me, one with oxygen the other putting the anesthetic into the IV and the view from where I was lying was good. Not a bad sight to drift off to at all.

What’s up doc?

I had no idea how often people asked “what are your plans for the summer”? Are you travelling anywhere? It’s getting to be like the new “How are you?” or at least it seems that way when I have been living in limbo.

'Given the complexity of the task and the size of the tumor, your best bet is Photoshop.'

I went for a follow-up appointment this past week to get the results from my MRI, which I already knew because I am as impatient as a toddler. But it’s a little different hearing them from a neurosurgeon than from my family doctor. The neurosurgeon still believes that I have a benign meningioma which is a tumour growing between my skull and the lining of my brain called the meninges. Whether or not it’s benign won’t be confirmed until the tumour is removed. Timmy is larger than initially suspected. My first scan had him at 2.3cm and the second more accurate one has him measuring 2.9cm. A six milimeter difference isn’t much unless you are talking about brain tumours. Meningioma’s typically grow at a rate of 1mm per year, so we are potentially talking about a difference of 6 years of growth. The surgeon doesn’t actually think that Timmy has grown 6mm between scans he just thinks that the image from the MRI is much better than the one from the CT scan. As I learned this week 3cm is the decision point for these types of tumours in this location. My options were presented such that:

1. I can wait until the tumour gets to be 3cm in 6 months to a year during which time I would need to have another MRI and more appointments, and then have surgery

2. have radiation to reduce the size of the tumour and then at some time in the future have surgery

3. get it removed sooner rather than later

Unfortunately using photoshop to remove the tumour wasn’t an option. Waiting a couple more months would be fine except having a brain tumour sort of sucks. If I was 70 years old my best course of treatment would be radiation. But I am not 70 so shrinking it and hoping for the best only to have to revisit the situation later isn’t very appealing. So looks like I am going to have surgery sooner rather than later.

He then went through the potential risks of this surgery based on the size and location of Timmy which include a small risk of facial paralysis on the left side of my face, reduced motor function in my left hand, bleeding requiring a blood transfusion, and somethings about difficulty swallowing, swelling, leaking spinal fluid; honestly I sort of lost track. I do remember that if he can’t untangle the tumour from important things he will just leave some tumour behind rather than risk permanent damage. If he does have to chop up Timmy what is left will be “fried” as he put it, and I believe there was a mention of potential radiation treatment later on. My husband made notes which I can’t bear to read. Having too many details scares the crap out of me.

What is sort of neat, creepy and scary all at the same time is that he will be injecting little sensors into my face once my head is clamped to the operating table. Yes that is correct my head will be clamped to the operating table. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it. He will try and get the clamp marks close to my hair line just in case there is any scaring, but he couldn’t be sure where they would end up until he had me on the table. Considering that I will have my skull drilled open, the clamp marks will probably be the least of my concerns. The sensors will be used to align the MRI imaging to my head sort of like a GPS of my brain. The sensors will also act like little alarms for the nerves in my face if there is any twitching.

I will be sedated for the operation which is actually nice to hear because there are types of brain surgery that require local anesthetic so you are pretty much awake for the surgery. That sounds like torture. I have a hard time being fully present for a dental filling I can’t even image the post traumatic stress disorder that might surface from being awake for brain surgery.

The good news (I am stretching it here, but there has to be something positive in the situation) is that I will in fact be part robot when this is all over with as I will be getting a titanium plate in my head. My kids think that the surgeon is going to cut off my head, insert bolts and I will turn into Frankenstein. Thankfully he is not going to cut off my head. He is only going to cut into my head and there will be bolts involved so they are only partially wrong. I will defiantly be green right after the surgery because nausea is high on the list of side effects.

icu1I will be in the ICU right after the surgery but I might not even be aware because this event calls for a bucketful of drugs. There is a risk of swelling and bleeding post surgery given the tumour location so the ICU is the place to be. If all goes according to plan I will be out of the hospital within 5 days.

My husband, the surgeon and I tossed around some potential surgery dates as if we were making dinner plans. I have a tentative craniotomy (I think that’s what it’s called) booked but I am waiting for the confirmation before I get too excited, or freaked right out. In the mean time I need to have a pre-op exam, blood work and chest X-ray.

So now when I am asked “do you have any big plans for the summer”, I can say I sure do I’m having brain surgery. Now doesn’t that sound like a fun way to spend the summer.