I cannot begin to express how much this blog and the abundance of love I have received has significantly changed my outlook on this journey. Every time I see someone’s comment, message, or even just thinking about me it provides me with reassurance that I will soon return to my normal self and life. Please continue to follow along and share my journey with others as the surgery date is fast approaching!
On Monday June 5th in the early morning I woke up and headed to the hospital to check in for the WADA test and cerebral angiogram. With this being the first procedure since talking with the second Neurosurgeon, I believe I had become extremely worried about what could happen during this test! The night before I began thinking of why was I having to go through all of this, all the possible bad outcomes that could happen during the WADA test, and if I potentially could experience any of these complications. Of course I could… IF NOT then why would they explain it all to me??? However they say the risks of the procedure are “minimal”, but Had allowed them all to creep right into my brain, which by the way, was super scary and not very positive!!! With some redirection of positive thoughts and the much needed help from my parents and friends, I was able to focus on all the good in my life and deflect the negative thoughts and fears allowing me to sleep soundly before the procedure.
We arrived at the hospital early Monday morning, I then checked in and waited to be admitted into the Intervential Radiology unit. Once I was finally admitted, I was prepped and ready for the procedure. Many different staff members came to my bedside to talk with me about the procedure, but when the Intervential Radiologist began to explain the procedure to me and the slim possibility of getting a stroke from the medicine they use to put my brain to sleep, my eyes widened and I began to worry inside. Although, I knew things were about to start soon and there was no time for negativity and to think about the possible bad outcomes. After the prep and talking with all the doctors, I was wheeled back into a room with tons of different cool tools used to perform the angiogram to obtain images of my brain and arterial vessels to better understand my tumor. This will determine the best course of action for the Neurosurgeons to take in performing my surgery. Along with the cerebral angiogram the WADA test was performed where the Neuro interventional Radiologist puts half of my brain to sleep while I was given some simple tasks to perform.
After getting the Large catheter started in my groin, which actually was the most painful part of the whole procedure due to the large amount of lidocaine used to numb my groin area, the Nuerologist and Psychologist came into the room and talked with me before starting the WADA portion of the procedure. They began by asking me simple questions like, “What day is Thanksgiving on?”, and similar questions for me to remember, along with objects, colors, and numbers. Once the Intervential Radiologist put the first dose of medicine into the IV the nuerologist had me count to 10, as I began counting I was only able to get to 5 and couldn’t get the 6, 7, or next numbers out of my mouth. I believe this was due to my speech and language center being mostly located on my left side. After the counting the medicine had worn off for the left side and the psychologist began asking me the same questions to test my memory. Most of the time I had to answer with a guess, but was able to remember many of the questions and objects. The doctors left to take a look at the results and the assisting nurse stayed with me to talk with me about sports and keep my mind off the situation.
Once the doctors came back, they expressed to me how well I did on the test and we would proceed to the right side. The psychologist began asking me the same types of questions along with showing me different objects. Once the medicine made its way up to my brain this time I was able to count up to 10, but I think I had a harder time remembering some of the objects and questions the doctors asked. After questions the doctors told me that we were done and they began taking the EEG leads off and the Intervential Radiologist took out the IV and closed the incision. Once it was over I began thinking that my language and memory was spread across both parts of my brain. My first thought I jumped to the conclusion that I am most likely having the surgery while awake!!
After the procedure I was wheeled back to the Intervential Radiology unit and waited for the doctors to come back and talk with me and my parents. The nuerologist told us that I in fact had my language and memory unit spread out on both sides of my brain, and she reassured me that this was a positive thing, even though I most likely will be having an awake surgery. We will know the final decision on Friday when I meet with my neurosurgeons. My initial reaction to hearing this, I began to get a bit scared as to what the awake surgery would entail. On the other hand, we were given some amazing news from the angiogram imaging. The Intervential Radiologist let us know the the tumor was not actively bleeding and did not have any blood vessels going to the tumor. This means the doctors believe it is 90% not cancerous!!! Such a relief to hear this and the Intervential Radiologist was able to tell us he believes it will be a smooth procedure to remove it.
Even though I may not get the preferred choice of an asleep surgery, it was such a relief to hear the good news about the actual tumor site. I am most definitely scared and worried about the surgery being awake, but I know this is the safest way to ensure the least possible complications. As the surgery gets closer I find myself getting more and more scared and nervous about the recovery and possible complications, but I believe with the power of positivity and all the love and support I will push through this and overcome this hurdle along with any other I may encounter! I hope everyone continues to support me and my family with positive energy because I already believe it has made a difference in this journey so far and determining the tumor does not have any arterial blood flow!
Thank you again to absolutely everyone who has reached out, has thought about my family and I, or has donated to help us all during this journey. My best friend, Paul, mentioned to me about some wristbands he and his sister made for his mom during a procedure she had. We will be putting persevere and the date April 24, 2017 on them because the word “Persevere” has helped me get through these rough times. We will look into getting them made up and hopefully have them available to people who are interested. Please continue to follow along as I will have another blog post next Thursday, along with one on Monday June 19th for the day before my surgery!!