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 all sorts of punk rock greatness: but I’m going to have to pay for it with a splitting headache that will probably last at least two weeks, and side effects that are likely to slowly decline over the course of at least six months – assuming, of course, that everything goes well.
I’m a total weenie about pain, so I’ve been researching effective methods of post-craniotomy pain mitigation for that first few weeks until my skullbone starts to knit and my brain figures out it no longer has a roommate. Surprise, surprise – opiates are definitely the winners.
I’m not a drug user or even really much of a drinker, but for the record, I hope they cram me full of opiates for this. A craniotomy as large as Dr. Ferreira described yesterday is going to make my head feel like a cracked egg. It’s the surgery team’s job to put this poor Humpty Dumpty back together again, but all the fashionably industrial titanium hardware in Seattle isn’t going to make it a pleasant recovery without seriously high-quality painkillers. I’m ready for my own personal Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo experience, and if I can still write, you’ll either be the beneficiaries or the victims of that effort.
As for the six-month recovery from the side effects – the reassuring thing is that research suggests people tend to have a default level of happiness to which they generally return in a very short amount of time, regardless of great or terrible circumstances that may temporarily disrupt their baseline. So, weird side effects, decorative scars, and painful headaches notwithstanding, I look forward to settling back into my standard degree of contentment once everything looks relatively stable again. Sure, it may take a while, but life is like that sometimes.
As long as I get to squeeze my boy, visit with my family, and putter around a bit, I’m generally a happy camper. The puttering around will certainly take some time, but the rest is a foregone conclusion, which makes me feel pretty cheerful about some otherwise-daunting prospects this year.
Now, let’s just all cross our fingers and hope it turns out to be the nice, manageable chondrosarcoma the images suggest.