My neurosurgeon is wonderful. She just doesn't really know how to prepare you for something that's kind-of a big deal. She told me that she wasn't really worried about the tumor, it didn't seem like it was too major of a problem, and she just might want to get a little biopsy of it. The word, "biopsy" does not sound very threatening to me. I've had lots of moles on my skin biopsied in the dermatologist's office. No bigs. So when my tumor needed to have a biopsy done, I was cool with that.
Then things weren't so cool. A few days later, I found out that my case was assigned to what is lovingly referred to as "TUMOR BOARD." This is a team of specialists who deal with neurology, heads in general, cancer, neuro-oncology, etc. Tumor Board wanted me to have this "little biopsy". And the way they had to handle this little task was to open up my skull, lift up a lobe of my brain, drill down through skull bone, and take this little piece of tumor out. Brain surgery that would require me to also have an Ear-Nose-and Throat surgeon to protect my hearing, carotid artery, and a cool little bundle of nerves- any of which could be severed during this surgery with not the best of outcomes.
I was given this news in clinic at the Optometry School. I was supposed to take on patients and see them for their eye exams. That did not occur. I was taken aback, to say the least, and cried for probably an hour to one of the attending doctors about my new-found misfortune. This surgery meant that I would have to withdraw from classes at school for the next YEAR. I would not be able to graduate with my classmates, take National Board exams that March, or see any of my closest friends on a regular basis.
Did I mention that all of this news was delivered right around FINAL EXAMS week and CHRISTMAS? And that on top of this fun factoid, it would be the first Christmas that my family would have without my dear mother, who had suddenly and unexpectedly died in April.
I took final exams on an adjusted schedule, as it was quite difficult to concentrate on the subtle changes of the optic nerve in Glaucomatous conditions while contemplating one's skull being sawed open in a matter of weeks. My school was very gracious in accommodating me during that whirlwind week and beyond. I passed all of my classes, and ended up with all A's and B's!
Christmas holidays came and went, I had numerous appointments with lots of doctors, and finally a date was set. February 3, 2012 was the day that my surgery would commence. Yikes.