Remains to be Seen

Today has been a hard day. After yesterday my mind, my moods have been in a constant state of change.

As most of you observed, I am hopeful. I hate that I am because hope has led me no where good yet, but damn, I am. I don’t know that the next scan (an MRV with gadolinium for those interested) will actually show anything, but at least I feel like we’ve got a real, somewhat reasonable plan, for the first time in MONTHS. And I feel like if the scan doesn’t show anything, I can go back to this doctor and she won’t try to toss another band-aid onto these headaches, she’s going to try to find a way to stop them altogether. I don’t know if she’ll ever be successful, but it feels like we’re finally trying to treat the cause instead of the effects. I like that.

On the other hand, I’m scared.

I really, seriously do not want another brain surgery. I especially don’t want it because it will unquestionably derail my schooling. I can barely tell you how hard I have worked to not have to fall back a year in school. I’m not trying to paint myself a hero here, and probably I should’ve given in and gone on a 4 year track instead of staying on 3. But I didn’t. I’ve lost hours studying long after I normally would. Weekends lost to trying to relearn things that I didn’t get to learn in class, that didn’t make sense because I had missed the previous week due to pain or tests.

I caught up. I passed all my classes. I am on track to graduate in May. And the idea that this scan could show what the others hadn’t, and that it could show that this can and should be repaired now? Kind of sucks. In a warped crazy kind of way.

I don’t want surgery. I don’t want to start my next clinical and my fall classes late. I don’t want to be behind ever again.

But on the other hand (I have a lot of hands, okay?), there’s no way I can turn down a fix. If this scan shows a leak, I will have it fixed, almost unquestionably. The quality of my life depends upon it. It would be crazy for me not to. And given that my brainstem is slumping out of my head, there’s no question that physiologically, it would be crazy not to also. I try not to get too dramatic when I can avoid it (shut up, sometimes I try), but your brainstem is essential for your ability to live. I’m not willing to mess around with mine.

And so I wait, somewhat patiently, for insurance to authorize the scan, for the pharmacy to fill the pills. I craft scenarios in my head of what if the scan shows something. Of what if it doesn’t. I find worries where I don’t need them, I push others away. I make plans tentatively right now, knowing that the future is still very much uncertain.

That everything ahead is now unwritten. That it all remains to be seen.

5 Responses to “Remains to be Seen”

  • I had wondered how long the first surgery kept you out of school, because I’m avoiding the neurologist right now. (I do NOT want to be out of school a semester, let alone a year)

    With that, I understand your hesitation to have more surgery, but if what she’s told you is correct, it is the right thing to do. Quickly, to get rid of those insane headaches and fix the drooping brain stem.


  • Jamie:

    If this is the fix is this not something you can wait till graduation for? On one of your other hands you should consider that if you did get the surgery and you had to take time off… school would be SO. MUCH. EASIER for you! You would be able to attend classes and study and hopefully not spend your time always trying to catch up; you could be present all the time.

    And I would honestly be sad for you if you didn’t have hope. My belief is that when you give up thinking positive you are actually your body more harm. I know that you have hoped before and not gotten what you wanted out of it but your doctors did what they thought was best and what they thought would help you. Now you’ve ended up with someone who knows something different and that’s awesome – that SHOULD give you hope <3


  • kellye:

    Katie, I am so glad you were seen in a timely manner by a specialist who has a game plan! I can only imagine how beat down you were about your condition – yay for new light! I think it’s easier to be hopeful and then (possibly) crushed, than to be full of spite all the time. How proud you should be for even being in medical school – especially with a sometimes debilitating condition. You’re an inspiration! Again, so happy for you and this new doctor, and for the treatment that will come from her!


  • Katherine:

    Lots of good thoughts and prayers your way that one day you’ll look back on these days as the turning point and as the start of so many good things to come.


  • mommabird2345:

    I’m glad you’ve found a doctor that you like and has some sort of plan. I hope everything turns out for the better. Wishing you all the best.


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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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