4 months.

Posted on
Oct 31, 2012

Sunday was a landmark of sorts, and it passed without me realizing it.

That, I suppose, was most significant at all. Sunday was the four-month anniversary of my surgery.

At some point, I’d stopped counting the days since my brain surgery, and then the weeks, and now, it seems, the months. Rand had left town the day before, so I mostly sat around, working on our Halloween costumes, and yelling at the football game that was playing on the T.V. in a vain attempt to pretend that he was still home.

It almost worked. Turns out, I’m nearly as adept at taunting Tony Romo as my husband is.

I only realized my surgery-versary had passed when I saw that I had an MRI scheduled a few days later. Yesterday morning, I drove to the hospital, and the news was nothing new, and therefore all good: what is left of my tumor, Steve, is hardly worth mentioning. He’s a wee little nub. This coincided with official report that we received a few weeks after my surgery, which we found somewhat amusing:

Don’t worry: my intracranial gas has dissipated.

Never have I been so happy to be labeled “unremarkable”. Just as delightful is the realization that I’ve got me a burr hole.

My neurosurgeon asked me how I felt, and I replied that besides my headaches (which were and are unrelated to Steve), I’m doing great. I noted that the fogginess that had followed my surgery was now pretty much gone. And until I had put that thought to words, the significance of it hadn’t quite hit me.

That was the most difficult thing to deal with after removing Steve. My internal monologue had remained the same as it always was. I knew precisely what I wanted to say, but the words often came out slowly. Sometimes they refused to come out at all.

That is no longer a problem. I’m sure not everyone in my life is as excited as I am about that.

My surgeon calmly noted that if my tumor did grow back, they could cut it right back down again. We’ve known that from the start.

And so I remain wary. I realize that Steve could return (Brain Tumor Part II: Electric Boogaloo), and we might have to, at some unspecified date in the future, go through all of this again.

That will probably be okay, though. Now that I know what brain surgery is like, I think I could do it again. I’m not exactly looking forward to it, necessarily, but like a bad horror movie, it’s less scary the second time around. You know exactly what it is you’re up against.

As for now, I keep thinking about what my friend Mindy told me when I first found out that I would have to forcefully evict Steve.

“One day,” she said, “this will be just some weird story you tell people.”

So I guess that’s that. It’s four months behind me now – so far that I’ve stopped keeping track. My wonderful life is back to what it was. Traveling and writing, eating cakes and lamenting the existence of skinny jeans.

But I can’t say that things are exactly the same. I feel like I appreciate things a little bit more. I think I have a slightly better understanding of how stupidly lucky and charmed my life is.

That the good decisions I’ve made have far outweighed the bad.

I give you Exhibit A: one of the better choices I’ve made.

And let’s not forget that I now have one more weird story to tell – about the time I had brain surgery.

Leave a Comment

  • On behalf of our family and everyone else who prayed, thought about, and/or did a Naked Atheist Dance for you–congratulations on being totally unremarkable in the best possible way.

  • Congratulations on your craniversary! My one year celebration is in just about 11 days – 11/11/11. Just a few weeks ago I celebrated being able to pull my hair back in a pony tail, it’s finally regrown long enough. I feel what you feel – I could do this again, and since going through all this, things just feel different. I wake up every day determined to make as many people smile as I can – because after all, work might suck, stress might be getting to you – but it’s NOT brain surgery, right? And even if it was – it’s not that bad after all. <3

  • Kudos on the recovery and your outlook! (And good riddance to Steve.)

  • Congrats! That’s amazing. Go celebrate with candy corn cupcakes!

  • We’re rooting for you. A big boo for Steve, as always.

  • Bing

    I guess your great sense of humor made this whole ordeal bearable. Naming your tumor Steve is classic! You are an inspiration.

  • That’s good news being unremarkable….now you can focus on more important things like all the CANDY this day brings in! Happy Halloween!

  • When my husband ignored my admonition to avoid trees while walking our dog during Hurricane (Non-tropical cyclone, N’oreaster. whatever storm) Sandy’s recent visit to Philadelphia, a large branch fell off a heretofore stately locust tree right between him and the dog—-it literally fell on the leash. I was so relieved I even spared him the “I told you so” when he told me about the near miss. What does this have to do with Steve—other than that my husband’s name is also Steve?

    Carpe diem, Baby.

  • Theresa

    You said burr hole, teeheehee!

  • Ash Buckles

    Excellent news! I really appreciate your open approach to something so personal. It’s a lesson for me in documenting our history and sharing the best, worst, and sometimes insignificant details of our lives.

    Some consider it pretentious to share so openly but we bloggers know better. 😉

  • Congrats! My anniversaries have passed me by too, I would probably forget them all together if my dad didn’t call specifically to remind me of them. I’ll be 11 months next week and I’m sure he’ll remind me again. I do think I will celebrate the one year though 🙂

    I will hope for clean MRI’s for you for the rest of your life! I have been told multiple times that my tumor is high risk for return but am thinking happy, positive thoughts 🙂

    Hope you ate some good sweets today!

  • XO, G.

  • Nick

    I also dealt with some 2012 health scares and was touched by this. Mindy’s quote hit home. One day, the worries of today become another story that makes us who we are. It never hurts that these moments make us appreciate the worthwhile things–like friends, family, or Rand. I’m glad you can entertain us so well with your story of Steve’s eviction!

  • val

    I am glad that there is no news to your tests

  • Dan

    I am glad to hear that you have recovered well. All the very best. Hope you have a long healthy life!

  • Beth

    So it was just gas?

    Seriously, congratulations on your recovery. So happy to hear it!

  • Your humor in naming what most view only with horror gives me so much hope that no matter what I face in the future, it will not be fully dark.

  • Melissa

    YEA!!!! Congratulations!! 8*)

  • Intracranial gas? At the high frontal region?

    Those are just medical terms for….wait for it….a brain fart!

    Now I can tell people I actually know someone who had a real, honest-to-god brain fart.


  • Doug F

    I actually saw Steve the other night! I was delivering the St. Febronia fundraiser raffle tickets to our corner tavern (the owner’s sister is one of our nuns) and Steve was slumped at the corner of the bar. He looked really out of it, so naturally I sent him another round and a shot. I said to the bartender “Tell Steve this is from his friends on the inner-nets.” He never even looked around to find out who bought his drinks – he just slammed ’em down and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

    I heard later that Steve wrecked his car that night, and somebody told me he lost his job too.

  • Anisa

    So glad to hear that your tests came back ok. Now go and have some cake!

  • christine

    “…the realization that I’ve got me a burr hole.”

    I almost choked on the Advil that I was trying to swallow when I read that sentence. For some reason, that struck me as the funniest thing I’ve read in quite awhile. Thank you!

    Now I’ll go back and finish the rest of the article 🙂

  • Can’t believe it’s been 4 months already! Congrats!

  • I actually have three good friends and a sister-in-law who have all gone through this in the past three years–I seem to be drawn to people prone to brain tumors, it seems–and every one of them has been fine. As will you be. So glad you’ve kicked Steve to the curb and that your wit is flowing freely as always.

  • Diane

    I’ve only just found your blog, wish I’d found it before my brain surgery. Mine was ‘the mandarin’ (given it’s size) and I’m now 3 months post-op. Some bumps and bruises along the way have made my recovery frustrating but I’ll do this! Could I do it again? Yes. Now I’m better informed.
    Thanks for the great writing!

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