Saturday, July 10, 2010


For She Is a Lover of Life
by Judy Westergard
Pastel on paper
all rights reserved

I spent the last three weeks in a kind of limbo, wondering how and even when this tumor might change my life. I met with my neurosurgeon three days ago and now I find myself pondering my remarkable good fortune.
Malignancy was never an issue with this little bugger, but other than that my head was full of “what-ifs,” even to the extent of finding myself each day in a state of stasis that scared me even more than the tumor. Then came the good news.
“This is a great tumor,” my neurosurgeon said. “We like these kinds. If you have to have a brain tumor, this one’s the easiest to deal with.” Then he outlined three options: surgery, radiation, and “watchful waiting” (with strong emphasis on the “watchful” part).
Radiation sounded good at first because it would put an end to my concerns. “It’s done as an out-patient procedure. You’d be able to go out for dinner that evening,” said my surgeon. “It won’t eliminate the tumor but it will prevent it from growing.”
“Hmmm,” said I to myself, “that might be an option. I could close the door on this phase of my life.” But then he continued.
“We drill four holes in your head which allow us to attach a cage. This is done under local anesthesia. The cage is what allows the radiation to zap the tumor.”
“Oh,” said I. “On second thought, I can find much better reasons to go out for dinner. Let’s explore this ‘watchful waiting’ option a bit more thoroughly.”
So that’s where I’m at. I have an appointment for another MRI a year from now with strict instructions to pay close attention to any change in symptoms, at which point we’ll schedule an earlier MRI. Armed with knowledge, I can handle the “what ifs.” The bigger challenge at this point will be to come to grips with what I suspect is something like survival guilt that soldiers must endure. Why am I the fortunate one? What does this mean? I may never answer that, but it’s important that I try. In the meantime, with any luck, I can go into my 90’s with the knowledge that “I get the
last brownie; after all, you wouldn’t want to deny a woman with a brain tumor the last brownie.”

1 comment:

Tom and Andi said...

Since you never let me win at scrabble unless it was fair and square, please be warned that I will fight you for that last brownie, regardless of what is in your head. :)