Awoke this morning at 4:44 am, about 8 hours shy of my nightly sleep needs, and we drove an hour through the lightening dark to arrive at my Gamma Knife brain radiation appointment.
These guys are pros.
Consider the head frame. It’s what it sounds like: a metal frame that they SCREW TO YOUR HEAD that fits into a metal slidey thing and keeps your head from moving while they point radiation bullets at your brain tumors.
The two other times I had Gamma Knife, they shot my scalp with lidocaine and then screwed away. No anesthetic. Big owie. Much protest. Felt violated.
Not this time. Today they gave me a quick acting anesthetic and I woke up five minutes later with a metal frame on my head. I mean, I knew to expect it. But I got to miss the pain and the, quite frankly, terror of having someone screw bolts into my head.
Big yay on that.
They were very kind. I had my own nicely appointed room to hang out in. I had two doctors and an anesthesiologist. The MRI guy looked like a surfer. I had my own nurse. There was an eager med student volunteer who brought me blankets and water and held my head when the anesthetic kicked in (to keep me from falling). I felt informed and cared for.
And of course my beloved husband Kahuna was right there with me.
The whole thing took about five hours, not counting the drive.
Prep, including weight, IV placement and general strategy. Head frame placement. Brain MRI to prepare radiation treatment plan. Waiting, because there were three patients today and we took turns. And then the Gamma Knife treatment, which for me took 45 minutes. Head frame removal and wrapping my head to stop bleeding (oh yes). Discharge.
In the waiting room before everything began, one adorable family of three sat all together on one small bench. Daughter, mom, and dad. They clearly loved one another. Mom was the patient, a woman in her 60’s or so. Love is beautiful.
The head frame bruises up one’s head pretty well. Four screws, four bruises. On top of the bruises from last week’s surgery, I have few un-ouchy spots left on my head. They will heal.
We are capable of so much magic.
The next part of my story, maybe the one you’ve been waiting for since I tantalizingly mentioned BESMIRCHING in the title, is brought to you by Too Many Pain Meds, Not Enough Food, and Evil Chipotle.
Medical procedure involving anesthetic = arrive on an empty stomach.
Head frame placement = OWWW and extra pain meds. I usually don’t take meds like this. Today I took extra.
When we left the doctor place, I felt pretty good, considering. I’d been thinking about a chicken bowl from Chipotle. Guac and cheese, yaaasssss. We went to Chipotle. I sat in the car with my bandaged head. We ate. It was delicious.
Ten minutes later, I asked my beloved to pull over. Chipotle wanted OUT. OF. MY. BODY. NOW.
Twenty minutes after that, I needed a new place to vomit publicly. Hey! A first for me! Public expulsion! Right at the side of the 101 in Laguna Beach. My beloved stood near me and spoke in the same loving, comforting tones he uses when kitty throws up (I’ve secretly wondered if he would, never expecting to actually find out).
I felt loved. And super yucky.
And yes, a little ashamed at leaving a pile of used Chipotle at the side of the road.
Once more for good measure just inside the gate to our apartment complex. There’s a little turnout there that I shall always think of as being for roadside vomiting.
By this point I’m shaking uncontrollably and crying. Beloved wheeled me slowly to our apartment. I could not walk. I lay down immediately in the living room and slept for two hours, two blankets keeping me from shivering.
Feeling much better now. I can eat, carefully. It no longer feels like my left eyeball is going to pop out unannounced. I can walk, a little. I can write, a little.
I dreaded this day. I don’t know why. Pain, maybe. Stepping into something new, yes. I don’t know how things will go from here. Pretty soon I will get very tired, like 16-hours-of-sleep-a-night tired. I don’t think about that now.
Today it’s just today. And maybe a little imagining of love-stuff this weekend. Snuggles and movies and love.
I feel wonderfully loved.
Much love, as always.