Alright, I’ve gone into a little bit of detail about this in my earlier post, but as many of you know I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in July of 2018. I named him Timmy. Yes, Timmy the tumor and he was the worst roommate I ever had! (Even above my roommate in Texas!!) I’ll never forget the feeling I had when the doctor came in with her big brain book. Do me a favor and sit for a couple of minutes and picture yourself being told you have a brain tumor. What are those feelings like? Go ahead, I’ll wait.
It’s hard to find that true feeling right? Some might say sadness, fear, self loathing, blaming of the world but mine was numbness. Of course I cried, but that day was the only time I did and I cried for how overwhelming it all was.
I could tell that my mom was terrified on the inside, but my numbness to the situation actually gave her some reassurance. Reassurance that since I was calm, everything was going to be okay.
- Just a side note: In the beginning before I was diagnosed, I had horrible headaches, which I thought was a side effect of my bulimia and I had two sleeping grand mal seizures a few weeks before I was diagnosed, that’s what made me go into the doctor.
At the time, I was in the early recovering stages of my bulimia, so I was an active runner, ate healthy and powered my soul through yoga and meditation. I had started prepping for surgery before I even knew it.
After I found out, I woke up every morning, took my medicine for seizures, slide my running shoes on, harnessed up my grandma’s dog CD and headed to the park to run. Every. Single. Day. I took advantage of every single second, I was doing things that made my soul happy. I was reading again, enjoying time with family, basking in the outdoors and living with an open and loving heart. I created self confidence in myself and my body, which I’ve never had.
Every person I came into contact with was shocked by my up beat personality. I didn’t get the memo that if you have a brain tumor, you’re suppose to be engulfed in self pity and loathing. Glad I missed that memo!
To prep for surgery I was in the hospital doing all sorts of things, MRI’s, CT scans, lab test..etc. With all those visits, not once did I get any sympathy from any doctors or nurses about my condition but admiration for my attitude. That attitude didn’t change, even when I was hugging everyone before I went in, I wasn’t thinking, this could be my last time hugging my mom. Instead, I thought I can’t wait to show her the gnarly scare on my head. I was even challenging myself to break the record of how much of the sleeping gas I could inhale at once, typical competitive Brittany.
Surgery went well, it ended up being around 8ish hours, Timmy was a little bit larger than they had expected so they had to make some adjustments. I came out of anesthesia, THROWING UP! Oh my god, it was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. After getting my up chucking under control they moved me to ICU. This would be the first time I would see my mom and dad and all my family.
I looked like death, my mom said. They were the first ones in the room, so I wasn’t quite done with my nausea, blood matted my hair and I was pale as a ghost. Nothing some apple juice couldn’t cure though. As the night went on I was feeling surprisingly good, given the fact I just had brain surgery not even 6 hours ago, I was up and using the bathroom by myself, (a huge no no I was told by the nurses). Thank goodness for pain meds! I felt so good that they moved me from ICU to general population the next day. One day later, I was on my way home. Let me repeat that, 3 days in the hospital and then I’m released home. That’s what good preparation does. My surgeon had done everything he could do, now it’s my time to step up.
For the first 3 weeks my life consisted of, sleeping, eating and having my mom bath me. It felt as if my brain was trying to get a grasp on what the hell happened to it. After a month I was able to start staying up longer, taking rides to town with my mom and even walking up our hill, with the supervision from Magnum (my dog) of course. Those were the good days.
The bad days came, what felt like, more often than the good ones. My medication made me a complete B***ch. Along with my brain trying to rewire itself, its safe to say I was an emotionless bomb ready to go off. I told my loving grandma, that has helped and supported me throughout my WHOLE life that she was always being negative and no one wants to be around her. I tear up still to this day when I think about what I said to her.
We found out I was allergic to most pain medication that they could give me, so I relied on Tylenol for a long time, which caused my ulcer to come alive again. The headaches were unimaginable and debilitating, sometimes for days. It was hard to keep positive when the road to recovery was blank. No one could tell me what to expect, how long the pain lasts, and if any emotional changes could occur, nothing. I thought I was going to be this unemotional B***CH for the rest of my life.
I then started down the depression hole, and the Keppra (seizure medication) didn’t help either. I would spend my days in self pity because I wanted to be healed and I wasn’t happy with the progress I was making. I had a deadline to meet before my health benefits ended, I had to be back at work in October, 4 months after brain surgery. (STUPID THAT I PUT MY WORK BEFORE MY HEALTH I KNOW).
Getting back to work was a breeze! I was back in my environment and doing what I love, building people’s confidence and ability to grow not only as an employee but as humans as well. I started to ween off the Keppra and was no longer having any seizures.
December comes around and BAM, had a seizure in Yoke’s late at night with my best friend who was also my roommate. At the time I was fully off Keppra, no medication at all. That of course changed when I went to hospital, they put me back on Keppra and for the next 5 months my life was a MESS. I was having multiple seizures a day, I was crying more than I was laughing and I hated the fact that my body wasn’t healing. Bless my Fiancé’s soul because he stuck through EVERY SINGLE seizure and was by myside for those 3 am ER visits.
We weren’t making any progress with my medicine so we switched to a much different one. Lamictal, it was and still is fabulous, I don’t have any of the side effects I was feeling on the Keppra. I have a few break out seizures when I’m under a lot of stress or no sleep, but not like how it was. Trevor and my family are extra excited that ‘Whitney’, my alter ego that came out quite frequently, would never show her face again.
Still to this day I’m still struggling with medicine dosage, random seizures and spouts of depression because of it, but no ones perfect. For me to keep the process going, I must keep my focus on the progress and not the perfection. Perfection is only achievable by nature and animals.
How’s your progress going?