“I should come with a warning label” 😉
In 2002, I started to get extremely sick. I thought I was just exhausted from 8-9 hours of cosmetology school, 2 hours of driving everyday, 4-5 hours of work, and trying to squeeze time in to study and sleep. I kept going back to the doctor, he kept telling me I had the flu or a bug I just couldn’t get rid of. I saw 3 different doctors who all said I was fine. Finally, the doctor decided to do a CAT Scan of my sinuses to see if they were the problem. She informed me that the scan showed a brain tumor and sent me to a specialist right away. It all happened so fast after that..I went to see the neurologist, neurosurgeon, etc. They informed me that the tumor was too large to remove through the sinuses as originally planned, they would have to do a craniotomy, shave my head, and gave me a very long list of everything that could go wrong, and said the surgery had to be soon. I was numb…I didn’t know what to think, or what to tell J…
Jason was a wreck over my health. We went from being 18 and 20 year olds, completely in love, just starting our lives together, not a worry in the world, to a very adult situation. I wanted to finish school, at least, something I loved and was a straight A student at, but they wouldn’t let me, I couldn’t wait that long. The surgery was scheduled for March 2003. They gave me time to enjoy the holidays, get my living will prepared, and that’s about it. I had to say goodbye to everyone at school, so sad. Jason is a total sweetheart. He also does not like to talk about things that could go bad. He didn’t want to talk about it, which worried me. I spent the next couple of months hanging out with friends and family, just in case. The weekend before the surgery, I hung out with all of my friends. Almost all of our guy friends shaved their heads, one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me! I prepared a notebook of letters to my family, close friends, and many to J in case I didn’t make it. The morning of the surgery was weird. Jason and I drove together with his mom, I had to get blood drawn, fill out paperwork, and get prepared. They put me in a room to hang out with everyone before I was sent back. My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins all came to see me before. When it was time to go, I was shockingly calm. My mom was a total wreck and my dad said Jason could go back with me (They only allow one person to go with you until you get to the operating room) Jason and I talked, he never let go of my hand. When he couldn’t go any further, he wouldn’t let go. They had to make him. It completely melted my heart and I knew from that moment on that he was truly my soulmate. I know, it sounds cheesy, but we were young. He could’ve left and not dealt with so many problems and a sick girlfriend. My dad said Jason completely proved himself to everyone that day.
The surgery was supposed to take 4 hours, it took 8 hours. My family said Jason was a wreck the entire time and was the first to jump up when the doctor would come update them. Apparently, I even flatlined for a little bit (Talk about a close call!!) I remember when they wheeled me out, I was in pain and couldn’t talk, couldn’t hold my head up, and kept getting sick. I was put in ICU overnight. When they moved me to my new room, I had tons and tons of visitors. I don’t remember everything, but Jason does and he told me numerous times. Jason didn’t want to leave my side, so he slept on a cot in my hospital room, always by my side. I was in bed for 4 days before i could finally get up. I remember going to the bathroom and seeing myself for the first time….No hair, Frankenstein scar across my entire head, my face was completely bruised and swollen, huge black eye because they actually had to remove my eye for a little while (soo weird to think about!!) I sat there and cried. I didn’t look like myself at all. I was happy to be alive!!!
After a week in the hospital, I was released. Jason took me home. I had to have constant care. Someone had to be with me every minute. Jason, my loving boyfriend, was busy working all these hours and then taking care of me the rest. I loved that he took care of me and it scared me also. Sometimes, he’d have to clean up when I would throw up because i couldn’t get up, no fun. I was worried he’d leave me, but would have understood if he did, that’s alot to deal with. After a week of being home, I still wasn’t doing well. Apparently, the surgery had caused many health problems that I still hadn’t completely understood. I was put back into the hospital for another weekend. I had a long recovery ahead of me. I was sent to tons of specialists. I was put on steroids right away to help with reducing the swelling of my brain. I guess I’ve had the worst reaction the doctor had ever seen to steroids. I wasn’t able to eat, but I drank everything in sight. After a few months, I ballooned up an extra 100 pounds!!! Not normal! It’s been a fight for 9 years now trying to get me off the steroids, but I will have to take them the rest of my life. So the doctor still works on finding a balance! The surgery caused other problems. I was diagnosed with Hypopituitarism, Diabetes Insipidus, and many other big, technical terms! To sum it up: My pituitary gland doesn’t function, my adrenal glands don’t work, my kidneys don’t function as well as they should, I have no natural hormones and need hormone replacement therapy,my reproductive system doesn’t work at all, and so on. I also have to have MRIs at least twice a year to keep an eye on everything. The last few MRIs have shown something, it may be the tumor, so they’re keeping a close eye on everything. The surgery pretty much kicked my butt. I have problems I shouldn’t have to begin to deal with until I’m an old woman, but I’m alive! I still have to see specialists frequently and we’re still working on my health, but I’m hopeful! Right now, I just enjoy what time I have and I try not to take any of it for granted!!!! 🙂