The Brain Tumor (part 1)

In September 2012 I had my 1st aural migraine. I was teaching in my 2nd grade classroom when my vision changed. It looked like a flash had gone off in front of me. I kept blinking to make it go away. Instead of going away, I lost most of my sight and could only see a little bit out of my peripheral vision. This made teaching extra fun. When my vision came back it had psychedelic wavy lines with it. I got these as well as regular migraines quite a bit after that.

During this time I also developed a transient left-sided weakness. My left eye would droop and I would have less strength and delayed reflexes on my left side. At the time my primary doctor had no idea why this was happening. Now my neurologist thinks it is either a certain type of migraine or an after affect of a simple partial seizure. Another delightful symptom I experienced was neuropathic pain. My primary doctor ordered a CT scan to check the blood flow in my neck and head and an MRI to see what was going on in my brain. We were both thinking about MS.

A neoplasm was found on my left frontal lobe. Even though I understood neoplasm to mean new growth, I did not recognize this to mean tumor. I got a copy of my MRI scan and could see something different in it, and while it worried me, I still did not come to terms with what it was. I went to a neurologist in Albuquerque a few weeks later. She was terrible. She decided that I was a drug addict and that was my problem. (I think it was due to my dreadlocks.) She wanted to review my MRI with a radiologist and get back to me. I didn’t hear from her for over a very long and nerve wracking month. Finally I received an email which said that I did indeed have a very small tumor but it shouldn’t be causing me any problems.

During this time I started developing more problems. My memory was not reliable. I started having difficulty finding words when talking. Teaching was getting harder and harder. A friend of mine whose daughter had a brain tumor a year before persuaded me to make an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In the middle of March I went on FMLA, said goodbye to my kids for what was supposed to be a week, and boarded the airplane with my husband. I was scared both of having an operation and of going only to find out that I was making a big deal out of nothing.

In this picture you can see the left-sided weakness in my eye.



4 thoughts on “The Brain Tumor (part 1)

  1. Thanks Jen. I agree with your comment. I think I worked hard during that time to not be emotional about all of this and that carried over into my writing. I will take that into consideration as I write part 2.

  2. Doctors! Sheesh…sounds like you had a couple of ‘meh’ to ‘so so’ docs and a goofy one. Really? She couldn’t handle dreads? I had a real winner to start off too.
    I hate ‘liking’ this post. But I like your writing.
    Thanks for looking at my site. Stay in touch.

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