I am here to celebrate my birthday with you!
You all remember that a year and a half ago, a large brain tumor (an oligodendroglioma) was found in my head. A big seizure occurred while I was at work, and my boss took me to the ER! An MRI there showed us that a surgery was needed right away. I was then lucky to have a great surgery that removed 90% of the tumor. The tumor remains were then reduced through radiation and chemo treatment last year. You can find more details on my page, Brain Tumor on The Gail Spot.
I am truly thankful to be able to get back to myself, but I am now overwhelmed with the bills I receive. My great surgeon wants to look at my brain to ensure it is healing properly — which means MRIs every 3 months. While I am happy to have health insurance, I still must meet the deductible and out of pocket maximum before they will cover the bills. I currently have a payment plan to pay off the last two years of bills at $3200. There will be a new bill coming up in a couple of months when my MRIs start again at another $3000.
The biggest issue for me is the prescription the doctor has me stay on. It is great to stop any possible seizures. But it makes me randomly very nappy. I have not been able to find a job for which I could work around my weird naps. I have done some .com jobs to help start an income.
For my birthday, February 3rd, please say “Happy Birthday” through any small or medium or large donations through gofundme you would be willing to give.
I appreciate any support from my friends and family!
You may remember that last June one side of my head was bald following the chemo and radiation treatments. Well, I’m pretty excited that it’s getting longer! Woohoo – I can almost make a ponytail 🤣 It sure has been frustrating to have to wear baseball caps, scarves, cotton headbands, and, of course, hairpins. But, hey, I am not upset really about going through this. Just a part of getting all better and healing!
The visit with my brain surgeon, Dr. Etame at Moffitt, was excellent today! MRI shows that flair has diminished greatly since the last visit in September. This should continue to decrease and heal in my brain! He also reviewed how he carefully conducted his surgery to avoid any blood vessels in my brain and take out as much as he could while he continued to chat with me (Yes, I was “awake!”). He is also allowing me to cut back my Keppra medicine, so those undereye circles should hopefully diminish.
Here is a pic below from my visit two days ago for the MRI at the Moffitt spot a tad closer to home. Gwen Bowden did a ton of pictures of my brain two days ago. She did a great job to help the doctors see details of what is going on in there. It was also really nice to read the MRI report by another doctor that says, “In comparison to prior examination, there are stable surgical treatment changes left temporal craniotomy and corticectomy. There is stable non-enhancing oligodendroglioma in the left insular, frontal, and temporal opercular cortex as well as in the mesial left temporal lobe. There is no MRI evidence of interval tumor growth or angiogenesis. Remainder of brain is stable. No new findings are identified.”
Thank you to everyone who donated to a great organization, Oligo Nation, that helps to research my brain tumor and how to eradicate it!! My goal was to donate $1000, and we got to $1150!! Woop, woop!
If anyone would like to support the Oligo Nation, please head right to their site: http://www.oligonation.org/
The donations are from my friends and relatives: Holly C, Gina C, Barb M, John A, Vicki C, Tracy I, Chris C, Carol P, Katie D, Jorge C, Heather S, Maja R, Jackie W, Kevin D, Taryn S, Deb S, Chris P, Dawn L, Ethan K, Kim M, Tanis H, Lynda M, and Matty J!!!
OK, OK, this book did not release today. But I found out about a book written by a woman who certainly helped me! She had a similar brain tumor situation as I did! Her’s is a Pilocytic Astrocytoma, while mine is an Oligodendroglioma.
Ms. Geraline DeRuiter writes a lot on her blog, The Everywhereist. Her blog is mainly about travel, but she also has some great pieces about how she went through having a brain tumor (see the blog topic here). She continued on her travel passion even after having brain tumor surgery and healing. I am excited to read all about her overall life experiences in her book called “All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft.” After reading a lot on her site, this book looks like it will be a great one! (FYI, if anyone wants to buy on the Amazon site right now, there is also currently a $5 off $15 or more on your purchase of printed books – use promo code BOOKGIFT17. Not sure when, but this promo code will expire sometime soon.)
#GivingTuesday – A special day nationwide to help raise money for many 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organizations. I selected one, Oligo Nation, that has a great reason to research Oligo brain tumors (the one in my head) – and the foundation was started after two sons had it! They have already donated a lot of money to research on combating the Oligo tumors. Please click here to donate! (The Gates Foundation will donate $2m in matching donations through Facebook this year!)
Throughout the past year, after that thing was removed from my head, I’ve had memories trickling back to me. Thankfully, my nice brain saved these great memories somewhere! I guess they were blocked by the 20 to 30 year old tumor for quite some time. Now, it is making me realize so much. The biggest “a-ha” is that as the tumor grew in its location, I had to focus only on people and things right in front of me to survive. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to cut myself off from a lot of people. I’m so sorry!! I get sad thinking about it. I did not mean to create any divides or come across that way to anyone. But I know all my true friends are willing to understand what is and was going on in my head. It will take time, but I am reaching out to people to re-connect. I get scared and nervous, but, more importantly, I am excited to reconnect with so many great people!