I didn’t tell you how my brain tumor was discovered.
Charles was 3 years old and wanted to take a shower. No more baths! Daddy didn’t take baths. Daddy took showers so Charles needed to take showers.
I had to tell Charles that he could not eat his pack of gummy bears in the shower. He didn’t want to leave them because he knew I loved them. But I scooted him in the shower. And yeah I ate one. ONE! Charles gets out of the shower and notices one damn gummy bear is missing out of 20. “Hey mom, you ate one!” (I bought them after all.)
I say, “No way, I wouldn’t do that.”
Charles says, “Stick out your tongue.”
He wanted to see if my tongue was a color as that would prove I had eaten the gummy bear. I stick out my tongue.
He says, “Mom. Stick it out all the way.”
I say, “I am.”
He says, “It’s crooked.”
I look in the mirror, stick my tongue out. It is crooked. I try to move it side to side. On the left, it’s paralyzed. I suddenly feel like a freight train has hit me. Holy cow this is not good. Charles is calling my name and I’m just stunned. It takes me a minute to get myself together and get him in bed.
I go downstairs and show Randy. He says, “Maybe it’s a dental issue.” Something is nagging at me. I remember something about the tongue. I can’t place it right then. But at 3am I shoot up in bed and remember it’s a cranial nerve. It’s a brain tumor. I know it is. Holy cow this is not good.
Of course, I had to go through some tests and it turns out, that’s exactly what it was. And you know the rest of the story.
So what was the outcome of the gamma knife?
Stuff hurt for sure. They have to fasten the frame on your head. And the anchors have to touch the skull.
Two MRIs (one without the frame and one with), an x-ray, CT scan and 2-hour gamma knife treatment and it was over. About 8 hours. Taking off the frame hurt, but only for 30 minutes. Stuff hurts tonight. But compared to pain I have felt after two craniotomies, this was so easy and very manageable. I was prepared for much worse.
At one point, I was waiting for my turn with the MRI, alone in the hall and a wave of grief hit. I was drugged by this time and I let those tears flow. And then the young men who scooted me up there appeared and asked me what was wrong and I told them.
Just grief. Lost my son to suicide and sometimes it just hits at odd times. I just needed a minute.
It was Charles who saved my life or at least my quality of life with his accusation of a crooked tongue. If I had waited to the next symptom, that could have been a strangled carotid, complete hearing loss, facial paralysis, double vision or loss of my swallow. I can live with a crooked tongue. Charles and gummi bears saved me. I wish I could have saved him from suicide.
I will know in a year or so if I have to go back, or not, for follow up treatment. They think it will be this one treatment and we’ll know by MRI if we turned it to toast or not.
I just want to say how much I appreciate the outpouring of support. Thank you. I know you’ve probably heard enough!