If you’ve been following my blog at all, you may have noticed that it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. If you’re connected to me or follow me on social media, my attendance has been shotty there too.
There’s a reason for that.
Many of my readers know that I’m a free spirit. I like to travel. I’m adventurous. I freelance and work for myself and I like to live my life in my own unique way. I make my own rules.
One thing you may not know (unless you are a close friend) is that I have suffered many health problems my entire life. I discovered I had my first heart issue at 22. I was healthy otherwise (at a good weight, active, young, etc). I ended up with a pacemaker. This was not my first surgery, but it was probably my first big one.
A couple years later, a new heart problem was discovered. The doctor attempted to fix it. I was his first failure. I was put on medication. Today I am 38. I’m no longer in the best shape of my life and I’ve had many surgeries for many different reasons by now. I have a scar across my neck because two years ago I was told I had lymphoma. A biopsy would be the only way to determine if it was or not. A PET scan showed tumors on all my vital organs and my spine. The biopsy was negative for cancer, so they diagnosed me with sarcoidosis. There is a lot of conflicting information about sarcoidosis.
During the biopsy time, I had been so misinformed, I thought I was dying. When the doctor mentioned my brain tumor, I thought he was nuts. I had been to see a neurologist the year before complaining of headaches, dizziness and some major forgetfulness.
The doctor ran a bunch of tests and concluded I needed to see a psychiatrist. I was already in counseling and felt brushed off. As it turns out, during a routine cat scan, he’d discovered a brain tumor right in the center of my frontal lobe, but I was never notified of this.
Imagine my shock when I learned that I could have known about this for a year and it had gone untreated and unchecked.
After I moved from WI to OR, it took me months to get my insurance and doctors in order. I ended up in one of the worst counties in the state and am limited to doctors in this county.
I finally got an updated brain scan and was referred (months later) to a neurosurgeon in Eugene. His schedule was full and he had to squeeze me in. This all took forever. When I finally saw him, he said the brain tumor would need to come out at some point in time, but it may not need to come out then. For some reason, he had my newest brain scan, but not my old ones to compare, even though my regular doctor was able to obtain them.
He said if the tumor had grown in between scans, it needs to come out now. He said he would do a craniotomy and that I’d be off of work for up to 8 weeks. He calmly described a surgery that sounded like it was straight out of a horror movie. He’d cut up one side of my temple along my hairline and all the way across my forehead, peel my forehead down, remove the forehead plate, remove the tumor and put it all back like a neat little jigsaw puzzle.
Of course, if the tumor hadn’t grown, I’d be okay, but the thing is that my doctor’s office told me that when they compared my old scan to my new scan, they could see that it had grown. By then, I knew this. My headaches were getting worse and I had lost almost all my sense of smell. Also, my forgetfulness made it hard to function day-to-day, to focus on work and so forth.
With all that being said, tomorrow is the day that I go back to see my doctor. It’s been 6 months. I’ve contacted my old clinic in WI and asked them to send all my old scans to him in Eugene. Tomorrow is the day he compares 3 years worth of scans and tells me if I need to have surgery.
I have been distracted, worried, stressed and to be honest, completely freaked. I’ve kept this info to myself, except for close friends or if there was a reason to disclose it (like if I needed to explain how I could forget something simple to someone). I also didn’t want to say anything or make it public knowledge unless I had all the facts. Even though I don’t have all the facts as I write this, I thought it best to let my readers know what is going on, so they understand my silence, my lack of interest in social media and all that. The struggle is real, folks.
I have no idea how I will survive for 2 months without work. As a freelancer, I have no savings, no personal days, no sick days and so forth. I have stayed living in an extremely cheap place for over a year in preparation for this. I’ve done everything I can. Now all I can do is find out what the coming weeks and months will bring and go from there.
I have several manuscripts in the works: I need to finish editing book one of the Shadowlands series, I’ve been working on a new horror series called Raven’s Hollow and I’d like to restart the progress on my tween series (Turvy Town). I have so much to write and so much to give back to the world, so I can only hope that this tumor will not get the best of me and that if it has to come out, I will still be my normal self afterwards so that I can live a better life and be the writer I’ve always been. Maybe even better.