From the vagaries and ups and downs of life. I find myself recovering from surgery with time to reflect. Another Intersection of Life and Art.
As you read this I am on my way to the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Arizona for a Consultation. But here is where The Story Begins:
On October 3, 2018, I was diagnosed with a “brain mass”. Vision problems had sent me to the Ophthalmologist. His testing and measurements of my left eye indicated something bad was going on behind that eye. He sent me to the emergency room, calling ahead to discuss with the Dr. what tests would be appropriate.
(The Ambiguity of the Mirror from “The Artist’s Studio” symbolizes my Journey. So it will be the featured Image for these medical update posts…….)
When I arrived, they were ready for me and ordered an MRI with contrast dye, no questions asked. The diagnosis: Brain tumor of unknown type growing behind my left eye; referral the the Neurosurgeons.
But, there is also a back story: I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor. So I also (and for the rest of my life) have an Oncologist. He now enters the mix. His fear is a metastatic spread of my previous cancer, which would be a sure death sentence.
Weeks of testing: Bone Scans, PET Scans, CT Scans…………All showing no breast cancer; Dodged that bullet! But I still have an unidentified tumor in my head that needs to be identified so the best treatment can be determined. All non-invasive procedures exhausted, now it is time the the Neurosurgeons to perform a biopsy.
So how do they access that area behind the Eye? By drilling holes through you sinuses. The ENT Surgeon does that. I didn’t even get a black eye from this; but I do have a puffy face. My worst bruise was from the arterial blood pressure tap-in. Apparently when you have brain surgery, they tap an artery to have the most accurate blood pressure.
Biopsy Results: I have a rare but treatable/survivable brain tumor (Which I will name and discuss later). It is in effect a birth defect. It was supposed to be reabsorbed as my little fetus grew, but it wasn’t. And when that happens you have a little guy in your head that probably won’t be a problem unless you are 1 in a million me.
My Neurosurgeon removed what was safe to remove without doing harm. It was affecting my optic nerve (first symptom), my Pituitary Gland and Carotid Artery (the brain’s source of blood).
Follow-up will require a unique radiation treatment only available in a few places. So I have been referred to The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix AZ.
POSTSCRIPT: Ongoing, I will be taking a road trip to Phoenix (Dates TBD); loading up the 4Runner with my camera gear and film (bought for a cancelled trip to the Everglades). Radiation I know will be 5 days a week for 8-10 weeks. So I will be doing photography as I feel up to it and posting as I go. Exploring Arizona for that time and keeping OldSchoolPhotoLabs very busy.