Top 4 Fears Before Brain Surgery

I received a call from the neurosurgeon last week saying he had scheduled my surgery for Tuesday, 23 August, *if* a bed was available in the hospital. The confirming call came around noon today, and now I am ensconced in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital with my own pillows and the cases I made for them. (They’ve been a hit with the staff, BTW!)

I’ve met a number of staff members who have all been great and even laugh at many of my jokes. (Now, if I can get the head honcho neurosurgeon to crack a smile at some point, I’ll be delighted!) One of the people who came around was a surgeon from my team who told me all the awful things that could happen to me during or after the surgery. Protocol, you know. I wasn’t much phased because I had already thought of the worst. (My husband is the positive thinker in this relationship.)

So here they are: the top four fears the night before you get your head cracked open like a walnut. (Note, though, that these are *my* top fears. Yours may be different, and that’s OK.)

(1) Stroking out on the table. I’m afraid I might die, or I will become totally dependent on others. The first is kind of a moot point. If I die, I won’t know it so what the hell do I care?  Except, of course, I do care, particularly about those I would leave behind. The second is the actual fear. In the words of my husband, “Christ, woman, it’s hard to do anything for you!” My mom and dad both died when I was 21, and I’m an only child so “self-sufficiency” is my middle name. I hate the thought that my husband might have to do everything for me. It’s not a life I want for him, and I certainly don’t want that for myself either.

(2) Tommy Tumour is malignant.

Tommy is presenting as either a meningioma or a non-secreting pituitary macroadenoma. In itself, this is pretty good news because, generally, they are benign tumours. The truth is, though, no one will know exactly what it is until the pathologists slice it, dice it, freeze it, stain it, and look at it under the scope. For a negative thinker, I’m doing pretty well on this score. I can’t even go there, but it’s still a nagging worry. (If you’re wondering why I’m calling the tumour Tommy, here’s why: he’s like a bad boyfriend you can only get rid by using extreme measures. The fat bastard.)

(3) Throwing up. I hate throwing up. It grosses me out. Actually, I just gave myself the gags writing those sentences. I can’t think of anything worse than throwing up *while having stitches in my head*. Lord have mercy and save my soul!  Some good news from Dr. Ciaran the ward doctor who took my history and my blood: there is incredible anti-nausea medication and all I have to do is ask for it! Awesome!!

(4) “Mah hair!”. Do you remember the scene in Saturday Night Fever when someone smacks John Travolta on the head after he’s spent a lot of time primping for his night on the town? He says, incredulously,  something like, “Mah hair! He hit Mah hair!”. In this process, I have discovered that there are three things I am vain about, three things that I don’t want to lose: my teeth, my bosoms (They might be saggy, but they’re mine!), and “mah hair”! I’m going to request a line of shaving rather than a patch, but….it will never be the same. There will always be a scar to mark this event in my life, a physical reminder that the Christmas nutcracker came early in 2016.

I leave you now, on the eve of this momentous occasion with this:


5 thoughts on “Top 4 Fears Before Brain Surgery

  1. You’ve got this. We are sending all the love positivity from The Midwest that we can muster. Hair, schmair-those curls can cover anything. Here’s to kicking Tommy Tumor where the sun doesn’t shine and becoming close friends with my buddy, Zofran (we became close friends during my time in Drake Passage-induced seasickness).
    And go for all the anti-anxiety meds that you are allowed to have.
    The religious among us here are praying hard. I don’t want to jinx you, so I’m not. 😉
    I can’t tell you to not be anxious, but you do have more reason to be hopeful than not. And that’s a good thing on which to focus if you can.


  2. We are extremely touched by your fears and understand the best we can. I wish I was there to hold your hand but am holding you in my heart. You are going to be a great patient! Hugs, Mom R.


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