28 Days to D-Day

December 31, 2008

It is now less than a month, 28 days to surgery to be exact. 

Trying to think of it like it is just going to be a crappy day, one of those things you just have to do. 4 hours out of my life, 2 months out of my career… and no more meningioma!

Liberty Clinic again

December 24, 2008

Saw Pam the Osteopath again the other day. She is working on making my dura more flexible in preparation for surgery. The dura is the tough and inflexible outermost of the three layers of the meninges surrounding the brain and spinal cord. 

I also had another Vitamin C IV with my naturopath Dr JJ. 

Doing everything that I can…

Random Facts

December 19, 2008

Brain tumours in general are not well studied as they are not as common as lung, breast, prostate, or colon locations.  Meningiomas have generally been ignored even more than other brain tumours. Here are some random facts I have found lately:

Meningiomas account for about 27% of primary brain tumors.

Meningiomas are most common in people between the ages of 40 and 70.

Among middle-aged patients, there is a marked female bias, with a female: male ratio of almost 3:1 in the brain and up to 6:1 in the spinal cord.

A new meningioma is diagnosed in about one in a thousand people each year and that 138,000 people in the US are living with on.

My only Canadian stats are rather unofficial… through friends I now know of 4 other people who have had meningiomas. What is the likelihood? That’s a lot of people considering I know very FEW people in Toronto!

Sources:

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Neurosurgery

“Curveball. When Life Throws You a Brain Tumor” Liz Holzemer

*Every source states different statistics. These just happen to be the ones I found today.

This is the little bugger

December 19, 2008

MRI_1

A screencap from my MRI results from yesterday. Yep, thats it, the round light coloured thing.

MRI noises

December 19, 2008

This is what an MRI sounds like. Thanks Lacey for the link 🙂 Now when you listen to these sounds individually, you need to actually  imagine several different ones at once! And VERY loud!

MRI in NY

December 18, 2008

Today Roger and I drove over the border so I could have an MRI. Buffalo MRI is a truly luxurious facility to beat the Canadian system with. 

I had to change into rather “sexy” pink scrubs and was then led into the MRI room. You can select what vista you want projected on the walls of the room. It is all very glam, but once you are in the machine you can’t even see the tropical beach you selected so it’s kinda pointless. I think the technicians like it though! 

I got to use one of their brand new (this week) machines. The tube they slide you into has no sides to it so it is supposed to be better for claustrophobic people… not that I am super claustrophobic but I’ll go for anything that makes it easier. 

Before they slide the bed into the teeny tiny tube they put headphones on you (so you can listen to music and hear the technician talk to you), then they put a cage over the top of your head, then they jam stuff between your headphones and the cage so you are truly wedged in. They then proceed to insist that you DO NOT MOVE. How the hell am I supposed to move inside this contraption?!

The bed whirrs and you slide inside the tube. I swear there is 4cm between the top of the cage and the top of the tube, and only 10cm from your forehead to the top of the cage. It’s a wee tight in there. Then…. BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG. Think jackhammer for 30 minutes.

Now I have a headache!

Reality hits

December 16, 2008

So today I got to meet my neurosurgeon Dr. Muller. He works out of St. Michaels Hospital on Queen St., Toronto. I like him, he has a nice steady hand, and a gentle way about him… good thing considering he’ll be jiggling around with my brain. He has done 3000 brain surgeries, 1200 of which are meningiomas. I am in good hands.

He immediately sent me elsewhere in the hospital for another CT, this time with contrast solution. I sat around with an IV in my arm attached to a syringe full of saline until the CT machine and IV was ready for me. Having stuff hanging from your arm is quite distracting, looking around and seeing all the post-surgical patients wheeling by is even more so. Then I glanced at the bulky guy in the orange jumpsuit and handcuffs who was accompanied by 2 policemen… staring at the arm with the tubes was a much better option. Once the CT machine was ready, they hooked me up to the contrast solution IV and more pictures of my head were taken.  

Ten minutes later I was back upstairs looking at Dr. Mullers computer screen. There it was, a white blob 3cm across right between my frontal lobes. Up until this point I had daydreams that this was all something that happened while I was asleep last night, and that it wasn’t really happening to ME. Me, Sarah who runs half marathons, spins 3 times a week…

Roger and I finally got to ask all my questions, and he answered every single one. For some of them he laughed, and said I had done too much reading. Roger as usual was amazing and took notes, and asked even MORE questions.

It is benign.

It is a classic case.

It is in the best possible location.

It is treatable by surgery, possibly with radiation after.

If you are going to have a brain tumor, this is the one to have. 

I have it thanks to sheer bad luck.

There is a 7% chance of recurrence, so I will have MRIs for the rest of my life to keep an eye on it.

Surgery day is January 28th 2009. D-Day.

I will be off work for about 8 weeks.

I kinda wish I could go for coffee or something with my surgeon, I feel I should know him a little more. Alas, next time I see him will be in admissions. He has many more people like me to break the news to in the next month or so.