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.

11 thoughts on “Weenie”

  1. Oh go be a weenie. Love the pic. Grab your fluffy slippahs, your happy places and toss the slightest thing that annoys you now. Remember to be grateful and know that you are stronger than you think. Don’t fight pain, work with it. Celebrate baby steps. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and cuddle up to your boy. This too shall pass. XOXOX S

    1. It turns out the pain wasn’t as consistently intense as I had expected and didn’t last two weeks. Instead, it’s been more like an ongoing mid-range headache with an occasional sharp jab, still holding strong a bit over a month into this interesting process. Some days are less painful, and some are oxycodone days. The fluffy slippers, comfy house clothes, and boy cuddling definitely make a huge difference!

  2. Terri Fincham Conner

    Weenies RULE! Opiates will be your friend for as long as you need them, then you can invite them to leave and wave them a lovely good bye. All will be well!

    Miss you here in our little cubie.

    1. From the start, we kept our oxycodone use to a minimum, which was a good idea, because now we still have some for the occasional rougher days. Most days, though, ibuprofen and acetaminophen do the trick.

      Give me a call some time when you’re free, and let’s catch up! I’d love to hear what’s new at work from your point of view.

  3. Gonzalo Roig

    Your own Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo experience. You know it’s not easy being a “Gonzo”.

    Take my word for it on this one.

    Have yiu thought of a way to explain the re-arraigned head in the future? You know the pirate-like patch and lines because the truth can get dull after repetition. Souvenirs from your days as a pirate? Dueling scar?

    Spring break party that got out of hand? Bar fight? Like that one.

    Hope you know this has caused me to bother God over you more than I have over anyone in years. Frankly I suspect He will help you just to shut me up.

    Whatever it takes.

    1. Sophia Terada

      Of course you would have a website chock full of scientific articles and a witty blog – we wouldn’t expect anything less of our Maria.

      I have some experience with medication and migraines and I say take the drugs. Especially if they offer Dilaudid. If only I could be ambulatory and form sentences while taking it…

      I’m looking forward to keeping up with you via your site and geeking out on all of the info. We miss you!

    2. It turns out the surgeon managed to improve my eye while he was in there and they didn’t shave my head, so with some careful scar comb-overs, I almost look normal! Most of my interesting stories will instead have to be about why I can’t remember things, but that’s always been the case to some extent. 🙂

  4. So glad to get news! The thought you’ve put into this is marvelous!! Miss your face at work. Whenever you finish screwing around with this, there’s a membership system to roll out. <> Keep the posts coming- the more opiate induced, the better. <3 you and your sense of humor every day.

    1. Hi, Becky – I miss visiting with you. Thanks for the kind words.

      As for the membership system, it’s the one thing that made me look forward to my craniotomy!

  5. Drugs. Pain. Hmmmm. Drugs. Pain. Hmmmm. DRUGS. Are you kidding me? Take them with the biggest, goofiest smile on your face. Take them with alacrity!! They will make you say and do crazy things. All the better. Think of all the things you can get away with. Like one of my Dr’s told me. These are legal, keep the prescriptions coming.

    1. Ha! If the healing process continues much longer, you may have to give me your doctor’s name! My noggin is still swollen and weird, and sometimes a little serious pain medication makes all the difference. As for saying crazy things – Abe gets a huge kick out of it, so we’re all good.

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