Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There's nothing like the fear of a brain tumor

A few weeks ago (I can't remember exactly when it was on account of the tumor hindering my memory skills), I woke up with a headache. Big deal, right? Except it was. It was a big deal because I've had a headache 0 times in my life. Or, quite possibly, I've had multiple headaches and my brain tumor is attached to the synaptic nerve that contains my headache memories.
I'll settle on claiming that I had an almost brain tumor last week. Well, almost might be pushing it a bit. Maybe I could venture to call it a not quite brain tumor. Except I was pretty sure is was quite a brain tumor.

Come on, you know what I'm talking about. Whenever anything funky starts happening, something out of the ordinary, you automatically assume the worst. For me it was headache = brain tumor, and then right along side with Googling "natural ways to cure a headache", you Google "brain tumor symptoms".

Please tell me I'm not the lone person out there who jumps to ridiculous conclusions.

Here's the gist - I woke up on a Monday morning and as soon as my body was upright, my head throbbed a good 10 seconds. Then, upon standing, my head throbbed for 10 seconds. Then, after bending over to pick Asher up and standing upright again, my head throbbed for 10 seconds. So, basically, any elevation change resulted in my head throbbing for 10 seconds. It was miserable each and every time, but the pain was undetectable if I made no sudden changes of altitude. This continued for several days, of which I spent countless hours researching possible maladies. And, for those several days, I seriously went there. There being the place you go when you think you're going to die. While cooking dinner, I made a mental list of all the women in my life that would be able to care for Asher while I was in the hospital recuperating from my tumor-removal surgery. While dropping Emma off at dance class, I added "call my life insurance guy and up my policy" to my to-do list. While blow drying my hair, I decided I would make a series of videos of myself for my kids. And throughout all of this planning, my head continued to throb. Luckily, towards the evening of each day, I would feel some reprieve and my head would throb for only 3 seconds instead of the usual 10 upon an elevation change. And guess what? The #1 symptom for a brain tumor is a headache that is out of your normal pattern, one that will usually subside in the evening hours. That sealed the deal for me. I also began to notice odd behaviors. One night during the ordeal, I was typing an email and I began to miss keys, resulting in gibberish words on the screen.

After a few days of living with my brain tumor, after a stop at Whole Foods for some advice on an herbal remedy, after a day of Tylenol, and after waking up for 5 days praying each and every morning that when I sat up, my head wouldn't throb, I made a doctor's appointment.  I never visit the doctor. The only doctor I've seen since being married is my gynecologist. I usually feel great, unless I'm sick, and then what is a doctor going to tell you? "You're sick Mrs. Draney. Gimme $20." No thanks. However, this was warranted.

I was told it's possible I have a sinus infection that's run a muck. Over the last several months, I've been fighting a continuously itchy, stuffy nose. My face was touched and poked for signs of swelling, and apparently one of my nasal passages was puffier than the other. A course of antibiotics was administered, a course was taken, and 48 hrs later, my headache was gone. My D.O. asked me to return for a follow up appointment, which I have yet to make. I don't need to hear, "Yes, you indeed had a sinus infection, you paranoid freak. Gimme $20."

The silver lining through all this is that my headache changed my perspective. Instead of my usual daily fears of the recession turning into a depression, the next flu pandemic, or a nuclear Iran, I was focused on the fact that all I wanted was to live, and that if I could survive a brain tumor, by golly I could survive anything (except Clint losing his job, getting bird flu from my chickens, or another Hiroshima). I'm continuing to indulge in my daily routine of checking into NPR to hear what the doomsayers have to report, but I'm not as frightened now, just mildly apprehensive.


Heather said...

i'm bringing you that book today. and. i'm glad your not dying, your fun to hang out with!

Crystal said...

I do the same exact thing but I also imagine for my friends that they are dying of weird things and that I will have to take in their orphan kids. I totally get it Jaylee, you're not a freak, oh wait, maybe we both are. Is that comforting at all?

H said...

"Mildly apprehensive". I'm going to have to try that one on my mom. "Hey mom, are you really worried about that, are you frightened, or are you 'mildly apprehensive'?" That will be a riot.

Jenny D. said...

As soon as you described your headache, I knew you had sinus infection because I had the exact same experience a few years ago. Every time I bent down to pick up a toy I thought I was going to die. Not fun. Glad you're feeling better!

April said...

I can't imagine a day without a headache. Count your blessings...
I always think I am bi-polar. I can't tell you how many times I've looked it up on the internet. Perhaps someday the list of symptoms will convince me to be medicated. Usaually, it just turns out that I'm PMSing or a woman.

Deanna said...

Chuck says he has a brain tumor once a week. Retard. I cry anytime I think of dying and what I will be leaving behind. (A messy house). Keep me posted so I know how to plan your funeral. (Thanks once again for the good laugh).

Flying Princess said...

I'm totally blogstocking you (I found you through Gina's page) but I have not been able to stop reading your totally clever and insightful entries! I could waste hours being entertained by your writing, and by wasting hours, I mean ignoring my kids and snacking on whatever is on hand.

I hope you don't mind. Feel free to come read about my boring life, too.


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