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Ringing the Victory Bell!

The Victory Bell is a badge of honor for successfully completing your radiation treatment.  It signals a new chapter of your journey and the end of a challenging event in your life.  It was something I was looking forward to as it meant my daily trip to the hospital is done. 

December 17 is the last day of my 31 days of radiation treatment.  I did it!  I rang the victory bell!  It was bittersweet as I will miss the people I interacted with during my treatment.  I brought home a certificate of completion as well as the mask they used for my treatment. 

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Beam Me Up Scotty!

After appreciating the fall colors at the Blue Ridge Parkway and doing what I need to do like there’s no tomorrow, my first day of radiation therapy arrived.  On Nov 3, I started my first day of radiation therapy to lessen the chances of recurrence of my brain tumor and eradicate the remaining tumor cells.  Our schedule was mid-afternoon and they were generous enough to have free parking for treatment patients. 

We arrived there early and stopped by the nurse station to pick up a gown.  I went to the dressing room and just wore the gown on top of what I’m wearing as the nurse advised me that it’s fine.

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The Brain Surgery and The Rest of My Hospital Stay

When they wheeled me to the surgical room, I said goodbye to my room and prayed with my husband for a successful surgery.  The nurse practitioner for neurosurgery told us that my neurosurgeon was very meticulous and precise that he won’t be shaving my whole hair.  When I get to the surgery room, they asked me if I ate or drink anything, if I have any metal stuff on my body (I do! I had an ORIF on my left ankle) or if I’m allergic to anesthesia or anything.  I told them I just had a sip of water as I was very thirsty, I had screws and plate on my left ankle and I was allergic to a pain med which I don’t know the name and the anti-seizure meds which they initially gave me.  They put an oxygen mask on my face and ask me to count to 10.  I had to do it twice before I was knocked out. 

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The Calm Before The Storm

On Sep. 28, 2020, after a night at High Point Medical Center, they load me up in an ambulance to head to Winston-Salem.  I recalled wishing that they will use the sirens and lights to head to the hospital.  The EMT said I should have mentioned it and they would have accommodated me even if for a minute or two.  Upon arrival, they brought me the neurosurgery floor where I stayed for 7 days.

They hooked me up on steroids (dexamethasone – made me gain weight), protonix (to help protect my stomach lining) and kepra (anti-seizure meds – which I found out I’m allergic).  I met with my neurosurgeon the next day and he told me they will be doing a brain craniotomy.  Since my tumor is nowhere near my speech center, they will be doing a general anesthesia.  After, I’ve been put to sleep they will use a gadget to put my head into place, shave a portion of my scalp, cut it, open the bone, get the tumor, put the bone back, put some screws to hold it in place and staple my scalp.  (Phew!  That’s the short summary)  After I got out of surgery, I will be placed in recovery and then to the Neuro ICU.

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The Seizure and The Brain Tumor

On Sep. 26, 2020, I noticed a weird sensation on my left arm.  It tingled and felt numb around 7pm.  I asked my husband to massage it and I didn’t feel a thing except for the tingles and numbness.  It was just my hand and lower part of my arm.  This happened several times throughout the night.  There was at times, even has a mind of its own.  We didn’t know what it was and chalked it up as tiredness.  I didn’t feel anything except for a headache earlier that day which I drank a 250mg Advil.  When we got home, I even completed my 10,000 steps which I faithfully was completing daily since June 30. 

On Sep. 27, 2020, when I slept that night I recalled my left arm was acting up again but I wasn’t able to wake my husband up since my arm has a mind on its own.  I’m not sure what time it was but I was able to go back to sleep.  Next thing I know, an EMT was on my side of my bed and was asking who that guy was, which I replied was my husband.  They load me up on an ambulance and brought me to the ER at High Point Medical Center.  They told me that my husband called 911 because I was having a seizure.  My husband described it as he was woken up because the bed was shaking.  When he saw me he put me on my side as I was seizing and foaming in my mouth (Woah!  Scary!!!)  

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