... in my brain actually. My very own brain tumour

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The operation

I went to hospital on Thursday 24th January this year and had the operation. The objective was to open up my head and examine the brain in order to find the tumour which had been demonstrated on MRI. Thereafter, the idea was to take a few biopsies in order to establish the exact nature of the pathology at the cellular level. While the brain was exposed, it was hoped that a portion of the tumour could be removed or “debulked”, in order to improve subsequent treatment.

So, what happened, and was the operation a success?

The neurosurgeon has told me that he definitely found the tumour tissue. It involved physically pushing and pulling his way through my brain, causing quite severe bruising and bleeding as a consequence, but he assured me that all the swelling and bruising would disappear in a few weeks. He was unfortunately not able to detect a clear edge to the tumour, implying that it was irregular and invasive of the surrounding brain tissue. Under the circumstances, he concentrated on getting some good biopsies but failed to remove any tumour volume of significance. If he had heroically tried to do so, it would probably have left me disabled. I absolutely concur with his judgement.

I would regard the operation as successful in its most important objective. The fact that the dreadful thing could not be cut out is disappointing, but at least we have the prospect of establishing reliably what the pathology is, so that the future can be planned sensibly. I will find out early next week (possibly 28 January ) what the score is.

Personally, the operation was an interesting experience. The anaesthetist took a lot of time to explain the procedure to me beforehand and was fascinated to hear that I had actually attended a Summer School course at UCT on anaesthetics earlier in the week. The neurosurgeeon has also kept me fully informed of the technical aspects of the operation. This is important for me.

I received very high quality care in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital afterwards, and was astonished to witness a team of nurses who not only possessed technical skills but were filled ith love, compassion, caring and commitment. Where do people like this come from? What motivates them? They have some quality far beyond my understanding, and I amire them end envy them for their energy and passion in what they do. My transfer to the general ward afterwards was a different story. The standard of care was superficial, incompetent, uninterested. The staff were clearly coming to work to earn a little money and do as little as possible. Very disappointing. But, this is simply life going on as normal. I have no complaints. They got me through the day and night alive and well. I cannot ask for more.

I have been discharged and am now at home, tapping out this message on my computer. it is good to be back in control of my life for a while. My family surrounds me with gentle love and my friends continue to amze me with their support. People are good. It continues to be a wonderful experience and I continue to experience more peace and joy that I have for many years.

No comments: