Saturday, November 7, 2009

From the Diary of a Brain Tumor Chick

Tuesday, October 27th 2009-

I'm tired. I just got back from taking Bray to school. Brock and I are just settling into Playhouse Disney and a bowl of Honeycombs. It's a good morning. We had big plans to veg out and do some laundry.

The phone rings and it's an unknown caller. I NEVER answer unknown call, but today is different. From here on out it will always be different. It all comes back to that phone call.  It was my neurologist. "This is strange", I think to myself. She tells me she's received films from the previous day and wants to discuss them with me. She explains that she's on call for a few days and doesn't know when she'll get back to the office. She says that she thinks that because of my 'medical background' and the fact that I seemed to be a level headed girl, that I can handle it over the phone.

I'm nervous now.

At this point, I'm thinking, "How bad could it be"? The next thought is that "some thing's really wrong". I tell her to go ahead, that I'm fine. What else was I going to say? I already have an enormous knot in my stomach.  I can't wait days to find out what it is she's calling to say. I have to know.

The next few minutes go by very slowly. Lasting for what seems like an eternity. I am trying my hardest (unsuccessfully) to hold it together. I didn't want to disappoint her with my 'medical background' and all :) I'm holding Brock, standing in the kitchen, he is instinctively wanting to be held at the sight of my tears and suddenly I have a whole new reason to keep it together.

She tells me I have a very large tumor on the left side of my brain. Seriously...did she just say 'large tumor' and my 'brain' in the same sentence?!  Hence the tech's questions about that side. I fight back the urge to say, "Excuse me what". Most everything after runs together. She said that she thinks it's the type of tumor that is rarely cancerous and rarely grows fast, but...(there's always a but) she thinks I have the type that is now growing fast due to the sudden onset of symptoms. She has no idea whether that also means it is cancerous. She suggests that I see a Neurosurgeon. I really like my neurologist, she's a great doctor and in her defense they deal with these things everyday and most of us do not. All I can think is, " think?!".  

She asks if I'm OK. I can tell that at this point she's rethinking my LABOR AND DELIVERY position as enough 'medical experience' to be telling me this over the phone. I was rethinking it as well!

I thank her for her time and tell her which neurosurgeon I would like to see and assure her that I will call my husband if I need him. I hang up the phone and literally ask myself if this was a big enough emergency to call Robert to come home. He's not mean, nor cruel, just very old school. As silly as it sounds I wondered if he would think this is emergency enough. I'm not having brain surgery right now, surely this can wait. I soon venture back to reality (somewhat). I have a brain tumor...I, Francis Brock, have a brain tumor. This is emergency enough!

I this time I can no longer speak very well from sobbing. I say something to the effect of "Doctor called, I have a brain tumor, can you come home". He hears, "The dog died can you come home". You have to understand this is a dog we haven given to friends due to our son Bray's allergies. So he's thinking "what the heck...really...she's this upset over the dog". With the economy bad and everyone loosing jobs he's then wondering how he's going to find a nice way to tell me he cannot come home for the dog. After several tries on my part he finally understands that what I'm saying over and over is not that the dog died but that I HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR. I know it's impossible but I swear I can feel the blood drain from his face. I hear him choke down a sob and he says, "I'll be right there". I am relieved. I am independent and can hack doing most everything by myself...but this, I cannot handle on my own...not today. I look over at my baby (2 yrs old) who's watching mommy cry and all I can think of is, "how could this happen"?!

I cry and I cry and I think "surely there is something other than crying I need to be doing?" and I simply go back to the tears.  That's all I have in me that day.  All I can give.  I arrange for my mother-in-law to come get Brock for the day so that I can somehow fix this thing in my head before he gets back. There were not a lot of rational thoughts that day.   I arrange for Bray to go home with friends from school.  I think "today should be fun for him, he's loosing his mom soon, today should be a fun day".  I can't face anything today, not even them. I shut the door on life.  I wanted so badly to hit the pause button and slow this thing down.  How do I tell them? What do I tell them? Will they miss me? These are all questions that would simply have to wait for another day.

I call my family.  My mom, dad and my sisters.  I hated that.  Probably more than I hated finding out myself.  Mom was out of town at a location and I didn't know what to say.  I begged my sobbing father to call and tell her for me.  That I couldn't disappoint her like that.  I mean she had made me, housed me, in her tummy and I had gone and done this to my brain.  He said "Sis, I can't, I can't!  You have to, she'll want to hear from you...I'll call her after and make sure everything is ok".  Dang it, I didn't want to.  Everyone else held it together for the moments we were on the phone.  I was already directing people.  "The doctor called, it's not good news...I NEED you to hold it together.  Are you ready? I can't repeat it so please listen".  I couldn't hear any comfort they offered.  It was nil, in my mind.  No amount of "we will be this, Francis" could effect me that day.  

I have a brain tumor.  A Brain Tumor.  As in, a tumor in my brain.  

I watched movies for the entire rest of the day.  I didn't leave my couch for hardly anything.  I didn't make any calls.  Didn't check out any hospitals or doctors.  Nothing.  I was safe, on my couch, in my world.  All around me, from afar, my friends and family went into action mode. Each doing what they do best. Some researching, some planning, some making this blog (heck no I didn't make it) all crying, all trying to nudge me into reality, nudge me to get moving. I didn't work.  I couldn't see why they couldn't understand I had movies to catch up on.  I couldn't. Not that day. I could only watch my movies and think. I refused to look anything up online (I was scared). I didn't want to know how bad this could be. I wanted to be alone. Alone with the tumor I just found out had invaded my brain. I wanted to sink deeper and deeper into my world. My world is a nice place, with no brain tumor, life is simple there.

I wanted to go back to the moment of the tumor's first existence and change the outcome. Was I one, five, ten, or twenty two when the tumor named Egore came around? How could I not have known I had this horrible thing growing in my brain? The symptoms I had written down in my symptom journal and taken to the Neurologist with me make perfect sense now that I was honest with myself. The significant speech and memory issues. The horrible eye/head pain that I could no longer tolerate.

I wanted to change 'it'. What the 'it' was I didn't yet know. 'It' was simply the moment this tumor, named Egore, began. The moment that very first abnormal cell attached to my brain. I needed to know what and where 'it' happened. Because this simply could not be happening!

I have a brain tumor...this chick has a brain tumor!


The Nielson Family said...

Thanks for sharing all your thoughts Francis--and thanks for making me cry :) You are in our prayers always!

Elodie said...

i'm glad you are so open with everything that you are going through. i really think it will help you get through this. i am continually praying for your complete healing!

Becky said...

Hey! I'm a friend of Elodie. Just wanted to stop by and say hi and let you know i'd be praying for you and your family and your upcoming surgery. I'm a mom of 3 little ones and a nurse and you have a fantastic attitude! praying for God's complete healing!

Kara Gonzales said...

Francis, you and your family are in my constant prayers. Remember, God never gives us anything we can't handle with His help. I'm happy you're blogging about this- please keep us all updated!

Michalle Barnett said...

All my good thoughts and best wishes go you and your family!

Thanks for sharing your journey with me.

conner posse said...

Wow. It makes me think...what was I doing on this day...the day you received such bad news? You write beautifully. Feels as though I am reading a novel. :o) I can't believe this all happened so recently. I can just imagine how surreal the whole thing must have been. How scary. You are amazing. I have a friend who recently had a brain tumor, had it removed and went through extensive therapy and so forth. She went downhill for a while but now she's "back." Amazing. So glad we live in this day and age with doctors and modern medicine!

Anonymous said...

Great article, thank you very much!