For those of you who didn’t know, I was diagnosed with a meningioma about 10 months ago. The reason I went to the doctor in the first place was because I had lost my sense of smell (a real bummer). We tried everything from nasal sprays to sending me to an ear nose & throat doctor, on and on. In an attempt to rule out sinus disease, my doctor requested a CT scan of my sinuses and head. Upon reading the scan, the radiologist (and anyone with clear vision) noticed something other than brain on the top left portion of my head. Fortunately for me, we discovered the tumor while it was still relatively small (unfortunately for me, the tumor is no where near the olfactory bulbs which control smell- so I’m coping with the fact that I may never regain it… i.e. I’ll always be a cheap date in the wine cellar, and anything I cook will be extra spicy- so watch out!).
Following my initial diagnosis I obtained a second and third opinion about what I should do, each of which recommended monitoring the tumor for 6-months and in the case that it was growing, have in removed (based on my age, health, etc.). So I waited 8 months, had a re-scan, and low and behold, it had grown a little. I decided to put off the surgery until I completed my field season down in Florida, at the end of June. Two days ago (Thursday) I went into Robert Wood Johnson Medical University Hospital, here in New Brunswick, and had the meningioma removed. Yesterday, only 24 hours after the surgery began, I was heading home to recover in the comfort of my Lazy Boy…24 hours later!. I’m currently restricted from driving for 10 days, after which point I can only drive short distances for about a month, mostly due to the lingering effects of anesthesia (although driving right now would probably be more affected by the Percosets I’ve been popping every 4 hours). I still haven’t seen the scar, as my head has been bandaged since the surgery. Today Inga and I get to ‘unveil’ my head, so expect some new photos on my flickr site by this afternoon. Dr. Shepard (my awesome neurosurgeon) took some digital photos of the procedure, which I will post when I receive them (yes, they’re gross!).
I can’t finish this entry without thanking the many nurses in the recovery room that spent time with me as soon as I came out of the anesthesia fog, until I walked out of the hospital yesterday afternoon. Ana, Claire, and Art, my official nurses, and Pearl, the nurse ‘next door’, were constantly amazing. The compassion that these people show for their patients is truly admirable and should act as an example for every human being towards all living things.