I have been thinking about posting for a few days now, but I have had a hard time getting started...The surgery has passed and I am feeling stronger everyday now. I have not had a seizure since Christmas Eve and I have regained more sensitivity in my left foot. The doctor may have disturbed a nerve during surgery that affected that area of my foot and also my left jaw--I can't open my mouth as wide on that side but my vision still seems to be the same. I am still on a steroid to reduce brain swelling and inflammation so I look a little puffy.
Thursday, December 30th, my parents and I drove to my neurosurgeon's Marysville office for the post-operation appointment. He needed to take the 22 staples out of my head and then discuss the pathology results of my tumor. He had already talked to us about the surgery during my stay in the hospital and at my discharge. My fiancee had to work that day so I remembered to throw the voice recorder in my purse to record the appointment for him. All of us felt so grateful that I had made it through surgery...we were all in sort-of a happy fog. We sat in the waiting room leafing through magazines and chatting about the upcoming wedding preparations. That morning marked seven months to go until the big day. The pathology was on my mind but I wasn't overwhelmed with fear or anxiety.
The neurosurgeon invited us into his office and then promptly began to rip the staples out of my head with little or no warning. I grabbed my mom's hand and squeezed HARD as he yanked on each one. When he eventually finished and dabbed the tiny drops of blood away, he sat down and discussed the results.
The tumor was found to be malignant, which means it is cancerous. Apparently, the preliminary results, which the surgeon had received on the day of surgery, had suggested cancer but my doctor had wanted to wait until he saw the next results before giving us the final pathology call. Goomer was the size of an apricot and was identified as an anaplastic oligodendroglioma. We are waiting for some chromosome test results to come back to determine how fast he will grow back and to figure out a treatment plan. My neurosurgeon said that he did not expect me to be able to return to school on time and suggested that I may have to take this semester off in order to receive treatment (some combination of chemo and radiation therapy). This spring is my last semester of college. I have received my graduation approval, I'm registered for classes and I am planning a short trip to Portland, Oregon to visit a friend for Spring Break. I am finishing the application process for the credential program which starts the week after graduation, and the wedding a month following...All I could think was...I don't have TIME for this!
Everything happens in God's time and according to His plan. I was able to finish last semester before the surgery and now I have three and half weeks to regain some physical strength before spring semester. I feel like God has given me this time to circle the wagons with my family and to really "gear up" for the coming year. While there are still so many unknowns about treatments, time frames, locations, insurance...God has blessed me with peace. He has been faithful to heal me thus far and I believe that He will continue His work.
The night before the follow-up appointment, I asked my mom to read my blog in it's entirety. Now that she's read it she and I both agree that the posts about my hospital stay and recovery need a little something, so I've asked her if she would be willing to share something from her perspective of the whole experience. She's still thinking about it so for now I will share some pictures from New Year's Eve.
My neighbor and his wife took my parents, and my fiancee and I out to dinner on New Year's Eve at Il Fornaio in Downtown Sacramento and it was absolutely just what I needed. Delicious food, festive surroundings, a new outfit (a new silk top and a pretty hat with feathers), and wonderful company...what more could anyone ask for! Just as the meal was ending and we were about to head home, the pastry chef presented each of us with a personalized dessert plate. My plate said "Happy Healing, Maggie!" in chocolate ganache. We were back at my parents' house by 8pm and had a swallow of champagne at midnight before fading at 12:15am.
(A little puffy but happy to be out and about :))
(My personalized yummy dessert plate with chocolate mousse and raspberries!)
The year 2010 was a very memorable year...my parents celebrated 30 years of marriage ...my boyfriend of five and half years got down on one knee in the snow in Ulm, Germany to pop "the question"...his father spent a week in the ICU with serious heart issues and has seen great healing and recovery...my older brother graduated from college...I survived a craniotomy!! Praise the Lord! The year 2011 consists of so many unknowns for my family and I...but not for God. While I would loooooove to know what He has up His sleeve...I am comforted by Jeremiah 29:11:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I am planning to continue the blog to update my friends and family about my recovery and about my upcoming year in general (graduation...wedding...etc). We will be seeing the oncologist sometime this week, so I will hopefully have more information very soon. Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support thus far--it has been a huge encouragement!!