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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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

carrie big break upHave you ever broken up with someone, crossed paths with them somewhere down the road, rekindled your flame, then doused it, vowed to keep the flame at bay, and then run into the double ex AGAIN? I have. Twice. Both literally and figuratively.

When I first came out as a lesbian, I didn’t know many queer folks. I didn’t know how a relationship should function – gay, straight, or otherwise. I’d never seen an example. I also didn’t know if I was a butch or femme. I only knew two other lesbians. Where would I fit within the lesbian matrix? Did my attraction to a particular gender type define my own gender? (To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that one out.)

I dated my first girlfriend on and off again for about two years. At first I was afraid. Shoot, I was petrified. I had never had a serious relationship because I could hide behind my religious beliefs about “waiting until marriage” to avoid getting intimate with someone. I eventually figured out that I didn’t have to put up with anyone’s expectations about how I performed by gender, and that my attraction to someone was not restricted to their performance of gender or sexuality. I realized that love is not dictated by body parts, and that true love has nothing to do with sexual intercourse. Once I recognized who I was and what I was looking for in a partner, the dating process became much easier.

Online dating was a perfect mechanism for meeting potential partners. If someone didn’t bother to proofread their own profile, click. Move onto the next profile.

I met my partner/spouse eight years ago. We spent over a month chatting online before we actually met in person. We shared an interest in feminism, queer theory, and Family Guy. We went to Long Beach Pride for our third date. A round-trip drive through the desert gives you lots of time to get to know someone. It’s a make it or break it kind of situation.  By the time we got back to Arizona, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Shannon.
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