Friday, September 19, 2008

Staples Out! One More Step to Recovery

The staples are out, I’m cleared to wash my hair and even to drive a car! What an amazing saga this has been. Apparently because I’ve not had any seizures or even indications of possible seizures, driving is not seen to be any sort of issue. Given that we have manual transmission cars and my right arm is still wonky, I’m not sure I’m going to rush right out and try that, but it’s one more degree of recovery and freedom. It feels pretty darn good.

We learned today that the pins-and-needles numbness is likely to be among the last of the symptoms to clear up. It’s an effect from the actual surgery. Some of the eye effects I’m having are also surgery-related, over and above the fuzzy vision and other strangenesses from the steroids. Dr. Olivero fully expects those to dissipate over time. Finally, when we asked about my reading challenges, he pointed out that the tumor was big enough that it was impinging on the reading and information-integration centers of my brain. He expects the effects I’m seeing in those areas to pass as the brain tissue shifts and re-occupies its space.

I return in three weeks for another MRI and consultation. After that, I’ll have MRIs every two months for a while, then every six months, then every year from here on out.

Before this adventure started, we’d planned to go visit Kearney and Brad in Madison this weekend, and we have two hotel nights at a nice, central hotel pre-paid for via Priceline. Does anyone out there reading this have any use for two hotel nights in Madison tonight and tomorrow night? We’d be glad to pass them along. We’ll be rescheduling our Madison visit, ourselves….

We are very grateful for the suggestions about physical therapy we’ve received. We’re back to working on that today, as some specialized therapy for the arm and leg will be useful. Meanwhile, I’m cleared to return to my strength and balance training, so we’ll restart our schedule for those and work on slowly building up over time. I’m not supposed to lift anything over 12 pounds for a while and generally to be sensible about building back up. I am truly working on my patience and my ability to receive gracefully. Growing from this experience seems like the bare minimum I ought to be able to generate.

Kearney and Shea point out that my beginner’s luck has held all through this experience. It’s an interesting observation. I do have amazing beginner’s luck, which means that I win just about any game the first time I try it. I never win again after that, just the first time. It appears that I have beginner’s luck with brain surgery, too, as otherwise how to explain the extraordinary smoothness of this entire bizarre adventure? And, how else can you explain the luck of having the perfect hair for brain surgery? We’ll take some pictures after my hair is finally clean, but our sense is that the scar just isn’t going to show at all. Truly amazing.

Michael asked for, and Dr. Olivero provided today a CD of all my brain scans. We ended up with copies of both CAT scans and both MRIs, so we are not short on pictures of my brain. Or my tumor. Michael is working on how to post his favorite tumor pictures. (Is there something oxymoronic about having “favorite tumor pictures”? I have to think about that one.)

We continue to be amazed, overwhelmed, grateful, confused, happy, and thankful beyond words. We have still a long road in front of us. We have confidence that with your companionship, friendship, love and caring, we’re going to make it. And one of these days, we’re going to have a party to end all happy parties. Thank you, friends.

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