Returning to Normal After Brain Surgery
Sunday, April 05, 2020
So about 6 months ago when my sight was becoming so bad I could no longer grade papers without extreme difficulty, I could no longer deny that I probably had something more serious than just age-related vision change. The headaches I had experienced for almost 20 years were relentless. I was deaf in my left ear. I couldn't keep ignoring the sneaking suspicion that I had a brain tumor.
Well it turns out the tumor that was finally found after my doctor started paying attention was not a brain tumor per se, but a pituitary tumor that grew directly under my brain on my pituitary gland into my brain and pressed on all of my cranial nerves, making me about 80% blind. Turns out it was also the reason I was partially deaf. And a host of other things I hadn't even considered.
The incredible team at the Pituitary Center at University of Virginia, led by the spectacular Dr. John Jane, determined that my tumor was at least 10 years old. Probably longer.
After my amazingly successful surgery February 25, I developed pneumonia a week post-surgery, only a few days after returning home. By the time I recovered from the pneumonia, the entire world was shutting down.
Today was the first time I could safely bend over and allow my head to drop below my heart. So I went outside into the garden. And dug, and hoed, and weeded, and sweated for 3.5 hours. It felt so...normal!
But I was never normal. And now, with my seemingly brand-new, 30 year old-like brain in my 60 year old head, I feel downright crazy sometimes. But man, oh man! I can SEE! I can hear in both ears! The stuffy nose I had forever has slowly drained out (you don't even want to know what has come out of there!) My left toes that were kind of curled up underneath are smoothing out. And my balance is unreal! Who knew?
I guess it's been so long since I was "normal," (never!) that normal feels like nothing I've ever felt before!!