Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Facts and The News

This whole having an "alien" cut out of my brain thing has seriously messed up my sleep schedule.  It's like I am a newborn on a 45-minute sleep cycle.  And during the day, I could sleep for hours.  And when my energy level is always so unexpected, my body shows no signs of normalizing into nighttime sleep anytime soon. 

Poor Dr. C has to deal with my constant night waking. He says this is worse than when our kids were babies because when I wake up, I want him to listen to me wax eloquently and philosophically about the meaning of life at 3AM; the kiddos just wanted to eat--no life-altering-questions-asked.

Sorry, babe.

Tonight, I will let him sleep and give you all some fun brain-tumor-facts instead.

I mentioned before that my type of tumor was called a meningioma.  Which means a tumor in the lining of my brain.  From the National Brain Tumor Society:

These tumors grow from the meninges, the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. As they grow, meningiomas compress adjacent brain tissue. Symptoms are often related to this compression of brain tissue, which can also affect cranial nerves and blood vessels. In some cases, meningioma growth can also extend into the bones of the head and face, which may produce visible changes. Most meningiomas are considered nonmalignant or low grade tumors. However, unlike nonmalignant tumors elsewhere in the body, some of these brain tumors can cause disability and may sometimes be life threatening. In many cases, meningiomas grow slowly. Other meningiomas grow more rapidly or have sudden growth spurts. There is no way to predict the rate of growth of a meningioma or to know for certain how long a specific tumor was growing before diagnosis. Meningiomas are graded from low to high. The lower the grade, the lower the risk of recurrence and aggressive growth.
 A few other facts, again from The National Brain Tumor Society:
•May arise after previous treatment from ionizing radiation or excessive x-ray exposure
•Common among women and men in their 40s-50s, but can occur at any age
•Twice as common in women as in men
•Accounts for 34 percent of all primary brain tumors
•In very rare cases, can invade the skull or metastasize to the skin or lungs
•Women with meningiomas can experience tumor growth during pregnancy
•In rare cases, multiple meningiomas can develop at the same time in different parts of the brain and/or spinal cord

 Fun stuff, huh?

Dr. Brains told me that if I was going to have something else besides my brain growing in my skull, THIS was the one to have.

Gee, thanks.

Here are some facts about my tumor specifically (some of this is gross, you might want to skip if you are squeamish, you've been warned.):
  • Dr. Brains thinks it was probably growing in my head for 15 to 20 years.  Um, that means I had a parasite in my brain for half to two-thirds of my life.  The upside of this is that now, I can pull the "I had a brain tumor" card to explain away all my crazy, what's your excuse?  Ha!  Not sure what I'll use to explain my future crazy though...

  • When Dr. Brains started my surgery, they could see the blood supply to the tumor through my skull.  (Ew. Who knew skulls were translucent??  And that must have been a MAJOR blood supply to be able to be seen through bone. Ew. Ew. Ew.)  The bonus of this is that he could see exactly where to cut without causing me to loose massive amounts of blood (another big risk in a craniotomy).  In fact, Dr. Brains did such an amazing job, I didn't even need a blood transfusion.  Holla!

  • My tumor was baseball-sized and located on the top of the back right hemisphere of my brain.  The day after surgery, they did a CT scan and my brain was a bit swollen, but had already popped back into it almost looked like a normal brain scan.  Isn't that incredible??  I had a baseball-sized growth in my head for 15-20 years, and a day after surgery, my brain literally bounced back.  AMAZING.  Simply AMAZING.

  • And finally....drum roll, please....The biopsy of my tumor came back with THE NEWS:

I will still be followed closely for the rest of forever--but Dr. Brains thinks that he got it all out and with my alien being non-cancerous, the future is bright.

Who wants to party? 
I do! 
Except you would have to excuse me for falling asleep in the middle of it like a little old lady.
Party anyway.  


Jenny said...

Carrie: I know we haven't had much contact over the years, but I've been following your blog for a couple of years and am a bit ashamed it took a brain tumor to get me to comment on your wonderful and inspiring blog. I am so thankful for your uninhibited shared experiences and amazing writing skills. I am so thankful all went well with your surgery. My images of you still include a cute, spirited little girl running around as Gretchen and I did crazy things like create icecream pies :). How quickly time flies and how precious life is, as so eloquently written in your blog. Love you!

Scubadiver said...

To me, this is beyond amazing and I think that the Lord had a hand in it from start to finish.
I love that your sense of humor is still intact and that you can find the funny side of something that would debilitate most.
You are amazing.. :)
Please post more... it is both poignant and funny..

Anonymous said...

I am so relieved and thrilled for you. Talk about a miracle. I'll keep praying for you during your recovery.

Kristin said...

Miracles never cease! Awesome!

Addie Talley, Photographer said...

great, great news!!!

putter said...

Way to look for the silver linings, Carrie! And there are indeed quite a few. God is loving your optimism and positive outlook for sure. Keep sleeping as your body demands and before you know it you'll have more energy than you know what to do with!

krlr said...

I love stuff like this - the medical info, obviously, not the fact you were carrying around a baseball in your head. Your brain just popped back into place! That's amazing.

Also fantastic news on the labs - I've been wondering but was a little afraid to ask. Yeah!

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