Hardcore? I should think so!

October 7, 2010

It feels like a lifetime since I shifted myself onto the operating table, and lay there shaking and bawling my eyes out, terrified as I was about to have a craniotomy. My first time in hospital, and I was having brain surgery. Frankly, it brings tears to my eyes even now.

It has changed my life profoundly, I am different. In May, with nothing else lined up, I quit my job that was making me miserable. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. And so began Sarah’s ‘Summer of Love’.ย I decided to take time off from work, and do only the things I loved.ย As a designer, I worked on my creative passions – whiled away hours in front of my sewing machine, and took regular trips out with my camera. Every now and again I went out and networked with others in the industry, or picked up small design jobs to keep things ticking over.

I ran, went spinning, and generally sweated until I was soaked through. I also joined a gym and fulfilled a longterm dream of working with a personal trainer. He did my general fitness assessment, and jokingly asked if I wanted to get started the next morning (a Saturday) at 6am. I don’t think he expected “ok then!”. Three months later and he’s still stuck with me.

Through all this I found my passion for design again. Now I do all the things I love AND am busy as a freelance designer. Life is balanced and I am happier, healthier and fitter than I have ever been before.

People sometimes comment that I am hardcore, impetuous, or that I ‘bounce off the walls’. Of course I bloody do! You think that’s a bad thing? I work out five times a week because I love it, I have more energy than I know what to do with. I pick up projects, and work with people that inspire me. I make better money than I ever did in my miserable job (just a nice side effect). But really, you don’t know what hardcore means… hardcore is having a head full of staples, throwing on a hat, and taking the dog out in the snow.

12 Responses to “Hardcore? I should think so!”

  1. Gerry Says:

    Thanks again. I had my final appointment with the neurologist the past week and all went well. She gave me permission to bike, zumba, yogo, pilates, and drive anywhere I choose to go. Her only hold back was extensive dental work (loved this one) and probably not shots for six months on the foot spur.
    My only question now is do you have any clue where I can go to find exactly what nerves were cauterized and how they affected me before, during, and after this brain affair? I cannot find anything on the web and forgot to ask when at my appointment. I have no medical training nor do I know much other than from experiences.
    If you are ever in the Midwest giving presentations email me as I would love to attend one. I really am more of a follower than a leader when it comes to my sewing/quilting but love to learn new methods.

  2. Jim Rossner Says:

    Go you! It’s a new lease on life and a completely different perspective than before….and for the better! Stay healthy and enjoy your renewed vigor! Jim

  3. jana Says:

    I’m scheduled for a craniotomy to remove a benign brain tumor in my right lateral ventricle in six days. I’ve known about it for two weeks now, giving me plenty of time to research and worry. Thank you so much for posting your experiences. You made me worry a lot less by giving me information that only a person who’s been through the process can relay. Thank you!

  4. SJR Says:

    Gerry – Hooray to you – and how great is it that you have been permission not to go to the dentist! I can’t help you with the nerves I’m afraid. They only thing I can think of would be to refer to the notes from your surgery (your GP should be able to print it out for you). Most likely you won’t ever get an answer though asides from any subtle deficiencies you might notice day-to-day. Oh and unfortunately I am not a good quilter. I am very haphazard about it and just hope for the best!

    Jim – thank you! I hope you are doing well too.

    Jana – I’m hoping surgery went to plan and your recovery is swift.

  5. Belinda Says:

    Hi Sarah,

    It’s exactly a month after my meningioma op, it lasted for 9 hours. I have lost 80% of my hearing on the right ear, facial paralysis and unable to blink my right eye. I’m supposed to return to work on the 5th but my mouth turns lopsided when I talk.
    I would love to read every detail on your blog my eye is tearing and it hurts. I cannot stare too lone at the screen.

    Thank you very much for sharing your pre and post op on the internet. It’s a great encouragement to know of someone like you who is so optimistic.

    With Warm Regards


  6. julia Says:

    Check out this website for all the support and info you could ever need!!


    Also, I can recommend the book Curveball: When Life Throws You a Brain Tumor By: Liz Holzemer on Amazon

  7. Hayley Says:

    Hi there,

    I just discovered your blog whilst looking for resources for my Mum. She had a very large Olfactory Groove Meningioma removed 3 weeks ago. It was based on her pituitary gland and, to quote the surgeon, one of the biggest he has ever seen. She too has no sense of smell – her only symptom amazingly pre-op!

    Her tumour was discovered by chance after a bout of Bell’s Palsy and we were told if she didn’t have surgery ASAP she would eventually slip into a coma and die in a matter of weeks/months. Needless to say it was a very stressful time and we have a long road to recovery ahead of us given the size/areas of brain involved/length and size of surgery. Her incision is basically double yours across the length of her head.

    I was really interested to read about some of your symptoms post op, especially the hyper vigilance. My Mum perhaps seems to have a mild form of this and will appear easily distracted by things going on around her. When we ask her what’s wrong or what she is doing she will give general answers like “just being nosey” or “nothing, just looking”. It’s definitely something I will raise with the neurosurgeon when we have follow up next week and will point it out to the physios and OT’s she will be working with.

    Thank you for writing this! It’s given me a lot of info and a lot of hope for the future ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love from the UK


  8. Jyothi Gopalan Says:

    Hi… just found your blog while doing meningioma recovery research. Am so glad you are doing well and that gives me hope. MY father had his surgery about 1 month ago now and we are all struggling with the recovery process now.

    He was fine immediately after surgery for 1 day – he developed a clot and edema after that and had to be returned to the ICU for a few days. He lost control of his left side and we are now having to retrain him completely and also doing physio.

    I am worried about whether the doctor screwed up and this happened? Also, want to know if anyone else has experienced this and what was their recovery like.

    kudos to you ๐Ÿ™‚

    lots of love

  9. Frank Rafferty Says:

    Thank you for this comprehensive record of your experience. I am due for Eyebrow Craniotomy on April 3rd and found it very helpful to understand the process better. Still panicking though!

  10. Chantel Van Dasselaar Says:

    Thank you for writing your blog, it really means a lot for people that are going through this… I am getting my meningioma surgically removed on May 7, 2015 and your blog really has answered a lot of my questions that I had, sometimes you just feel alone. I wish you nothing by the best, thank you for being so positive ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Rolan Yang Says:

    I had a 80mm meningioma behind the left eye removed 5 weeks ago. Since then, I have been going through exactly what you described in your blog. It’s really helpful to know what may lie ahead of me. Recovery has been surprisingly faster than I expected. 5 weeks out I feel totally back to normal and thanks to a skilled surgeon – without any post op damage (that I am aware of yet). I did lose my sense of smell 28 years ago in the 9’th grade of high school. Never thought that it could be the result of a tumor. I don’t have what is classified as a olfactory groove tumor, perhaps it was the overall compression. Anyway, thanks for the blog. It’s highly informative and entertaining.

  12. Ericka Says:

    Hi,Sarah…I was so glad to have found your blog. I was diagnosed in late June and finally scheduled the craniotomy for 8/14/15…that’s FRIDAY. I got 3 surgical consults 9really wnated a less invasive procedure) and even went back to the first with more questions. I’ve been told by most that he’s the guy, and that people come from all over the country and the world to see him. I know I’min good hands…the best hands..God’s hands.

    I am a bit anxious, I mean it is brain surgery. Never spent a night in a hospital, have always been healthy. I’m prayerful my meningioma is WHO Grade 1, benign, and removable…although part of it is in the cavernous sinus and might not be gotten completely. The only symptom I have is blurry vision in my left eye (part of the tumor is pressing on my optic nerve..what had me see an ophthalmologist in the first place).

    Well…I just wanted to say thank you for posting here and offering really great information and sharing your experience. You haven’t posted in a while, and I do hope all is well with you and you’re out there living your life to the fullest!

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