HBB: Thoughts on brain tumor follow-ups

Monday will be an interesting day.

I approach Monday with very mixed feelings.

Monday is my regular follow-up brain MRI to see if everything is stable. After the MRI , there is the wait for some of the most intense hours experienced. Then, there is the meeting with the neuro-oncologist to get the results.

I would be lying if I said I didn't have any worry. Maybe just a tiny bit. But, the day I have these MRI’s are also like my own personal Thanksgiving Day.

I have a new set of feelings about these brain MRIs each time I have them. But, there is no way I can approach these days as “just another day”. I knew a brain tumor survivor, a guy who had a similar type of tumor. He said that, after years, he approached these follow-ups as nothing more noteworthy than a dentist appointment. Years down the road, one of these “dentist appointments” changed his life.

I think I’d lose out on something if I felt that these MRI where nothing more than dentist appointments. I think I’d miss out on an opportunity to feel such intense feeling of gratitude and relief.

I was recently listening to someone who was waiting on biopsy results. She described the feeling so well. She said, “I KNOW this is NOTHING…but there is just this part of me which realizes this COULD be something.”

Exactly. There is always the "what if".

Monday, I will get good results. I know I will.

I hope. Life is too good right now.

So, I know they won't be finding any enhancement or growth. All will continue to be stable. But, there is a small voice tapping me on the shoulder, “…but, it COULD be something”.

And, I probably pay a bit more attention to that small voice because I’ve experienced receiving the unexpected call, “we’re sorry to tell you, you have a brain tumor….” After experiencing the unimaginable, you realize the unimaginable can happen.

I don’t really think this is a sign of excessive worry. This MRI really IS nothing. But, it gives me a chance, if I will pay attention, to realize how lucky I’ve been that it always been nothing. And, once again, I have a vivid reminder of how far I’ve come.

These days are strange. I’m working. I’m playing. I’m doing housework. Keri and I are reading or watching movies. Then, suddenly, in the middle of it all, there is a date on the calendar that could throw everything into a single-minded fight for survival. Again.

It won't throw us into a fight, because the results will be nothing. But, still...

I’ve been reminded that EVERYONE, each day, has the potential of running into some unexpected life-changing crisis. I realize this. But, I have this on my calendar. It’s different when it’s a single point in time. Monday: Celebration or Crisis? I guarantee that by the end of the day, I will be feeling something fairly intense.

And, I’m told I’ll likely have these follow-up appointments for life. Part of me groans at the hassle. Part of me wants to forget about it. But, fortunately, there is now still a part of me that appreciates this as a reminder to be thankful. There is nothing like the big relief from good news about a brain tumor.

Now to make the big decision, which kind of music should I request on the headset in the MRI? And, where to go out to celebrate after the good news?


Jen said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am thinking happy thoughts for you for Monday.

Hmmm... music... Well, I would probably have Damien Rice, Coldplay, Deathcab for Cutie, The Shins, Garden State Soundtrack, Amy Winehouse, The Decemberists-- how long do you have to hold still?

Kristin said...

Good luck!!! I will say a prayer for you...good luck!

Kathy C said...

This is a powerful post HBB. I don't think those of standing on the sidelines of cancer survivors ever think about what exactly they go through in follow up appointments.

We are just thankful they are still with us.

Good luck!

Bluegrass Mama said...

Thanks for sharing. We used to go through these after my husband's spinal tumor, but he was given the "all clear" after five years, provided he remains asymptomatic. This was back in the days before they provided headsets with an MRI; here's hoping the music keeps you mellow through the process and the results are great.

Cursing Mama said...

If Keri has any chance of overhearing your headphones I'd stay the heck away from show tunes or holiday music; she'll be singing it for days. Again.

I don't think my music choices would go over well in the tube, they lead to a lot of toe tapping or, in some cases head banging :)

--Good Luck! & thanks for sharing.

bp said...

I am due for my annual mri as well. i know the news will be good but it is unnerving all the same. i suspect it always will be. good luck to you

HalfBrainBoy said...

Thank you for the good thoughts and prayers. I do appreciate it. Tons.

Jen, to answer how long I have to hold still: FOREVER. :) Naw. It's about an hour. If you've never experienced the wonders of a "tube ride", I describe it as being in a drain pipe while someone is using a jackhammer on it. And, staying ABSOLUTELY still the entire time. Kinda wild.

Cursingmama, LOL about the headbanging. I can't imagine the look on the tech's face as I banged my head around the tube. I can't imagine the look on my face when the tech tells me we have to start over. Guess I'd better avoid that.

Again, thank you all.