Four years on…

Hi, everyone! No particular news… just an update to say “hello”. It’s 2019. My MRIs in 2016, 2017, and 2018 have shown no changes, so that’s great. I go in once a year (in June) […]

Hypochondria

I’ll admit to feeling a little paranoid about health things for the last six months or so. It’s a little embarrassing.  My hip hurts – has the cancer spread to other cartilage? I have a particularly severe […]

Holidays Past

I’m the atheist who geeks out about the holidays more than anyone.  What could be better than a holiday season filled with family, great food, gifts, and even a tree in the house? It’s just pure […]

January

Mom pointed out I should probably post about how the whole craniotomy/brain tumor recovery process is going, and she’s totally correct. The craniotomy was on May first, 2015. I returned to work at the beginning […]

Productive Day

Dipped my toe back in to the Costco lake today by attending a great networking event where Brene Brown was the speaker. She was amazing, and it was wonderful to see work buddies after such a long […]

Cured

Not really. The thing is – I’ve had what appears to have been a successful surgery to remove the brain tumor. They removed enough that Dr. Ferriera says it won’t be necessary to go back […]

Mystery Solved

I’ve been feeling rather anxious and down in the dumps lately – not all the time, but more often than I’d prefer – and couldn’t quite figure out what to do about it. It’s been quite […]

Priorities

The thing I’ve struggled with lately has been how to integrate this cancer/tumor thing into how I think about the future in a comfortable way. It all feels pretty surreal. Physically, given what’s happened, I’m not feeling too […]

Head Scar

The craniotomy left a pretty substantial head scar. It has healed on the surface, and pretty much looks the way it’s going to look from now on – large and winding in meandering curves around my cranium, […]

Glasses

I picked up new glasses yesterday. It was a trip to get my annual glasses prescription that launched this entire chunk of strange turmoil. For the last few months, I’ve been wearing my old glasses […]

Abe!

Abe’s been hard at work on his latest illustration. It will be posted later today on merkstudios.com. I’m incredibly proud of him – his work is just awesome. UPDATE: Okay – maybe a few days… […]

Slow and Steady

I’ve been posting less often – sorry about that. Week after week of incremental progress is bound to get a bit dull for anyone reading this stuff. Also, my ongoing dance with two partners – […]

Fallout 4

What does it say about me that I’m inordinately excited about Fallout 4 is coming out in November? Seriously – I can’t remember the last time I was this thrilled about some upcoming entertainment offering.

Back to Work?

So, when is the most appropriate time to return to work? This poses a few challenges. From a neurosurgery standpoint, my tumor has been removed, my incision is largely scarred over, most of the swelling […]

Missing Words

I seem to be temporarily misplacing some really basic words. Example: I thought it would be nice to do an inventory of our kitchen items this morning in an effort to get rid of some unnecessary […]

Priorities

In addition to napping, healing, and all the other appropriate activities, I had hoped to be able to use this time to accomplish something meaningful, but that hasn’t happened. My level of attention isn’t up to […]

New Bald Spot!

Crazy. We’ve been monitoring the fairly extensive incision lines on the left hand side of my head since the surgery, of course. Thursday, however, we came across a new one that we hadn’t even noticed before! Strangely, […]

Books

Just before surgery, I decided to buy a few books for my time in the hospital. Both were written by neurosurgeons about what it’s like to do their jobs: Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: […]

Pills

I really don’t like taking pills unnecessarily. I don’t like swallowing pills, and especially dislike those uncoated pills that leave awful-tasting powdered residue in your mouth after you take them. Yuck. So I’ve always been inclined […]

Brain Phoenix

I’m pretty sure I want a tattoo of a phoenix carrying a brain. The phoenix is on the official flag of San Francisco, for obvious reasons. For less obvious reasons, the San Francisco phoenix has […]

Physical Therapy

So, two days ago I had my first physical therapy appointments. Really, appointment one was physical therapy, appointment two was occupational therapy, and appointment three was speech therapy. I had been curious about what occupational […]

Visits from Friends

I’ve had a few visits from dear friends in the past few weeks, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. Today, a few came by and brought an incredibly wonderful card and gift basket from my co-workers at Costco. I’m deeply touched […]

Feeling Better?

As of today, I can hold a relatively coherent conversation about straightforward things. I can stand and walk across a room most of the time without falling. I can get dressed and usually take a shower without […]

Two Week Review

Last Friday we met with Dr. Ferriera, the amazing neurosurgeon who handled my craniotomy, to follow up briefly on the post-surgery pathology report. Here’s what he said: it turns out that the tumor is a […]

Head Cold :(

Bummer. I’m pretty sure I’ve developed a head cold. No especially high temperature – just a very slight temperature, cough, mild stuffiness, and the occasional sneeze. I’ll have the doctor’s office double-check it tomorrow to make sure […]

Research Funding

So, chondrosarcoma is one of several rare cancers. The drawback to having a rare cancer is that there is seldom a lot of research about it. Scientific research in general is often expensive and time-consuming, […]

Facebook

I just checked Facebook a few days ago for the first time since surgery, and was really deeply touched by the responses from my old friends. I had waited to post anything about the brain […]

Strange Dreams

I’ve had extremely strange, vivid dreams about random things ever since the surgery, probably due to all the exciting drugs they’ve prescribed. Last night I dreamed I returned to work.  I was super-happy to see […]

Slow Progress

Hi, everyone. Not much to report over the last few days. Things are progressing very slowly, with lots of naps. A few dear friends have come by to visit, which has been a lovely treat. I […]

Surgery

Hi, everyone. Surgery was last Friday, and this week has been a bit blurry. We arrived home from the hospital the night before last, I think. Lots of drugs and naps since the surgery, and […]

Angiogram

My angiogram was yesterday afternoon (I said in yesterday’s post that it was going to be today, but have updated it because that was incorrect). They did it around 2:00 p.m., and it went very […]

Here We Go

So, Sunday was a fun day with my family. We visited Pike’s Place Market and took the ferry to Bremerton, . Monday was my MRI and CT scan, followed by a visit to Snoqualmie Falls, a pleasant […]

Visit

My awesome parents are in town visiting. I’m really grateful to have them here. It’s been a while, and I’ve missed them. This is the last weekend before the craniotomy pre-testing begins at UWMC and […]

Other Blogs

It’s been interesting reading others’ accounts of what a brain tumor is like: 70 Things I Learned From Having a Brain Tumor What to Expect When You’re Expecting A Craniotomy Favorite Things: Brain Surgery Recovery Edition […]

The Cosmic Lottery

When I was younger, I probably would have spent a lot of time pondering the “why me?” question and upsetting myself with the possible answers. The problem of “why bad things happen to good people” was […]

Weenie

As the surgery date approaches, it’s a little anxiety-provoking to think about what’s in store for my poor noggin.  Oh, sure, I’ll have an awesome head scar and maybe even an eye patch, which is […]

DIY Cranium Souvenir

While poking around online, I became smitten with the idea of having a model of my skull, brain, and tumor built from my MRI and other imaging. It would be like an awesome souvenir. Sadly, […]

Goose Chase

Mayo has a few quirks. One is that they assign a doctor to you – you don’t necessarily get to choose who will do your surgery. They had initially assigned Dr. Michelle J. Clarke, who […]

Hospital

Abe and I had a long talk about the hospital question, and made a decision. We decided to go to Mayo. We have friends and family in Minnesota, which is great. Also, the Mayo Clinic is one of […]

Risky Decisions

It’s not just choosing a medical team that’s challenging. Choosing a hospital is also difficult. There are a variety of information sources out there about hospitals, and some seem to be significantly better than others […]

Google

“Whatever you do, don’t start searching on Google – just talk to your provider.” Every medical provider I speak with says this, and I know why, but I hate it. It’s super-condescending. I get that a […]

Chapters

I like to think of life as having chapters, like a book. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and thinking about it that way made sense – when you move somewhere new, […]

Lucky

I’ve been incredibly lucky all my life, and I’m lucky today. I had a wonderful childhood. My parents are kind, dedicated and loving and we have a great relationship. They spent a lot of time and […]

Mortality

Nothing like the word “oncology” to make a girl think about death. I know, I know. It’s too early to think about things like that, and it’s important to stay optimistic, and platitude platitude platitude. […]

Work

It’s been difficult to figure out how to approach this at work. My work friends are kind-hearted and gather around to support people in our department who fall ill. It comes from a caring place, but […]

MRI

Here were the findings from the initial MRI, for anyone who is curious: There is a high T2, homogeneously densely enhancing mass expanding the petrous apex and left side of the clivus. Dimensions are 29 […]

Finding Out

About a year and a half ago, my eyes started behaving strangely. Several times a day, I would suddenly start to see double, and it took from a few seconds to a few minutes to force my […]