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.)

Fundraising for Brain Tumors#GivingTuesday

#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!

Today I went to Moffitt with Mike and my Mom, Betty, and saw my brain surgeon/neurologist, Dr. Etamé.  We looked through the MRI information with Dr. Etamé.  He always explains his research and findings quite specific in an open, understanding manner.  So, generally speaking, the leftovers in my brain have diminished since our last visit and MRI three months ago.

Overall, it’s looking good in there!

Me with Dr Etamé

Dinner with a nice sunset 🌅  Yes, I’m still a tad bit nervous after having an MRI of my brain today.  But I try to ignore it!!

Perfect laugh over having brain surgery! Thank you to the artist Constantine. We are both on the same Facebook group for people with the Oligodendroglioma tumor type, and he created and shared with us!

UPDATE 28 AUG 2017: Constantine has also decided to have tees made with another design of his.  Any money he makes will be donated.  Most likely he has chosen the American Brain Tumor Association.  Will confirm!  Here’s the first release and ready to ORDER:

 

One year ago on August 23rd, my head was sawed open. An awesome neurosurgeon, Dr. Arnold Etame, took out a huge percentage of a large tumor in my brain. The tumor, classified as a Grade 2 (low grade) oligodendroglioma, had apparently been inside me for 20 to 30 years!

Drive to Moffitt through northern Tampa

To the right is our view early in the morning at the sunrise time. My husband drove my Mom and I to the hospital in Tampa for the whole day full of doctor visits and surgery prep on the day before the surgery.

On the surgery day, I remember being very nervous. Even that day before the surgery and on a prescription, I had my “anxiety” attacks. That I had found out from the doctor that these were seizures; I had a lot over the previous two years. I remember lots of random things on the surgery day. For instance, I remember arriving early in the morning with a few other people going for a surgery. I remember the nice strong support from my husband and mom, even though they were nervous, too. Once being driven in to the surgery room, I was prepped for an “awake” surgery. I felt like sort of an asleep state for a lot of the time, but I did talk a lot. I shouldn’t share some of the things I said! I also remember my neurosurgeon playing a certain song before he started his work, and it was so moving and had the positive energy flowing. Towards the end of the surgery, I really remember waking up – as they hammered the staples into my head and I called for more pain meds. I am sure the 10+ hours was even harder for my husband and mother waiting for me. Once out, I got to see them in my nice, only-me room.  I know I fell asleep very quickly to start healing.

Scary view of the day after the brain surgery

The next day, I had already decided to take pictures. Like this one, some of the pictures look scary, but to me it doesn’t look so bad, considering how long the surgery was and how much of the tumor my doctor got out – 90%! No other doctor thought they would get that much.  You can see that the white cotton was where Dr. Etame entered through my skull to get to the brain.  It’s like creating a door opening. He and his team then went through my brain using many curves and a lot of time, mainly being as precise as possible while cutting out a tumor.

The time at Moffitt for only a couple more days was excellent.  Their team was amazingly nice, but also pushing me in a good way.  For instance, this day after the surgery, they immediately asked me why I wasn’t getting up and sitting in the chair and still in bed while watching the Olympics or eating lunch.

There were a lot of scary things happening at that time. But I am so glad and thankful that it all did happen!!  Sure, I have had some difficulties over the past year, but not as bad as it would have been if that huge, whole tumor was still there.  So, thank you everyone who has helped me get through all of this – even if it’s a Facebook like, it means a lot!!

And since this is my first blog post in a VERY long time, I will do my diary research and put up some blog posts from over the past year.  That way anyone who wants to know about the past year will be able to read about the good and challenging things.