New Year, New Brain?

astrocytoma2020 – what a crazy year! I’ve been lucky enough to avoid COVID-19, but my brain function is still a rollercoaster ride.

I’m nearing the nine-year anniversary for my brain tumor diagnosis. I passed the calculated expiration date on Super Bowl Sunday in 2018 when the Eagles were playing Patriots. I was told I had 5-7 years to live after my diagnosis in 2012, but they also suggested that my 6cm astrocytoma started developing in my teenage years. Math is great, but even quantitative analysis is guess work in my opinion.

The past nine years have introduced me to migraines and seizures. I’m allergic to all of the current seizure medicines except two of them: Vimpat and Keppra. I’m still having seizures, so it’s time to throw a Hail Mary.

Back in October 2020, I was having a proper Sunday football binge with my friends. Between the afternoon and evening games, we decided it was time to grab some chicken wings. I went into the restaurant pay for the food. I had a grand mal seizure, passed out, and barfed all over myself. Mad props to the restaurant staff for knowing how to deal with a person in a seizure. When I came to, they had me sitting upright in a chair, and they had called 911. I wasn’t fluent yet, but I pointed at my phone and said my friend’s name. My friend called my partner so that he could meet me at the ER.

The grand mal seizure was the last sign that I needed to have a Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) installed to help regulate my brain activity. In summary, it’s like a pacemaker for your brain. After all of the MRI’s and eight years of chemo to regulate my brain tumor, what’s one more brain surgery?

I haven’t been sharing my cancer story because too many things have been up in the air. That being said, my brain with undergo the knife again February 8th. It will be outpatient. I’ll recover at home, and my partner and dog will have the luxury of heeding my bossy requests. It’s not COVID-19, so I’m feeling grateful.

I’ll keep people updated about Medusa (my brain tumor)’s reaction to 24/7 monitoring. I literally can’t wait to go through TSA again and mystify the security guards. Until then, get your COVID vaccine and enjoy the little things in life.

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