Category : Personal
Instalment 1 of my journey with Clusterfluff the brain tumour
This year, for my birthday, the universe gave me an unusual present. Yup, kind of unique as presents go. Not the type of gift I’d normally (well, ever) choose for myself, but as brain tumours roll, it’s the best brand available: Meningioma.
While I’m digesting this news, I’m hanging on to the knowledge that this big fat gift has three big positives: it’s got a return policy at the best neurosurgery centre in Australia, Monash; the tumour location is easily accessible; and it’s benign. I’m not a religious person, I’d call myself spiritual, but, yeah, blessings.
I got the news late yesterday, after an MRI. The radiologist said the official report wouldn’t be ready for a few days, and I couldn’t get an appointment with my own GP for a week, so of course I opened the scans. And sat there thinking, I’m pretty sure that Motherf#cker shouldn’t be in my brain.
That, by the way, has been the response of most of my friends. The word F#ck has it place in times like these.
At that point my phone rang. My doctor telling me she was holding her office open to see me tonight. I’m now on steroids to reduce the fluid putting pressure on my parietal lobe The what?
Humour is going to be featuring majorly in dealing with this period of mental adjustment, and my future recovery. I just typed ‘the recovery’, but that’s distancing, and I need to take ownership of this so ‘my recovery’ stays. Ever the editor.
So friends, I welcome puns galore.
The best I can offer at the moment is: if I get my sense of smell back (it disappeared around 5-6 years ago), I might have to stop farting in my own presence. Bummer.
Chris has already suggested we come up with a pet name for this thing – meningioma is a bit of a mouthful. What? I can’t use Motherf#cker?
I laughed at his idea, but being a writer, I also thought, ooh, no, that’s an attachment technique. This Motherf#cker is an antagonist, not a protagonist. But then … Alan Rickman … Dexter. What’s not to love?
Feel free to make name suggestions.
Right now, I’m thinking something like Clusterfluff (my fave Ben & Gerry’s ice cream). Something so sweet and fluffy (there’s marshmallow involved) feels like taming the beast. And in the MRI pic, it does look kinda like a big scoop of creamy deliciousness. A friend asked if I was going to keep the tumour in a jar, at home. I’m picturing jars of Futurama talking brains. Is it a Mini Me?
So, how did this all come about? Headaches – ones that we have all the time and usually ignore, because we don’t want to be a complainer or a wuss. That, plus am I super efficient at avoidance. Nah. Don’t be stupid. It can’t be serious.
Then, sometime around February this year, I was at my writers’ group when I thought someone behind me had grabbed my hand. Nope. My thumb and forefinger were gripped with tingles and numbness, and there was a little tingling in my cheek. The hand numbness went away after twenty minutes or so. Nothing to worry about. I must have been imagining the tingly face thing.
The next six months brought frequent tiredness, more vague headaches, and stronger ones down the back of my head, which I thought were due to the bad positioning of my computer screen. Yoga and stretches helped.
September, the hand and face thing happened again. This time my hand spasmed. Again it went away quickly. Thoughts: Meh. I’m not going to be a hypochondriac.
Then a week ago, same again, only this time the face tingling and numbness was stronger and longer. Time to deal with.
They say, when you’re faced with a possible life-changing event, your priorities change. I’m looking at the dirty dishes on the sink and the cat fluff balls floating under the kitchen table. Do they matter anymore? To be honest, yes, they still shit me. We’ll see if that changes after I’ve met the neurosurgeon tomorrow.
A moral if you care for one:
Take care of you. And don’t be an avoider, like me. An MRI (in Australia) is free if you have constant headaches. You’re not a wuss.