Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All clear.

Having completely worked myself up, it's a huge relief to report that yesterday I got the all clear again. Phew.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a migraine specialist and he was looking at my scan when I entered the room. He wouldn't say much about it other than it "looked ok". If my life were a film (it should be) then I thought this would be an ideal plot to make me think that everything was ok, only to BOOM reveal the return of a brain tumour after all. Surprise!

I was already feeling a bit nervous in the waiting room yesterday, when I was called in by Mr Bhangoo himself. Now, I don't think I can adequately explain how I feel about Mr Bhangoo. The last time I saw him I was still mostly under anaesthetic and couldn't move for terror at the feeling in my head. I don't remember what he said, or what I said, but I remember the shape of his turban silhouetted against the bright hospital ceiling lights. I couldn't really focus my eyes to notice anything else about him.

Since that day, I have thought about him often. This man has seen inside my head, my actual brain, and he has saved my life. He led a team that performed an incredible task, just for me.

In the waiting room yesterday, he called the patient before me and I heard him introduce himself. My mouth dropped open and I just stared. Completely lost self awareness - here he was! After all this time! Last year's scan results were delivered by someone, I don't know who, in Mr Bhangoo's team. It was a quick meeting as everything was fine. So yesterday I just wasn't expecting to see the man himself.

I watched him come out of his room and get the medical notes of his next patient. I was mesmerised. It was all I could do to not run across the corridor and throw my arms around him. But when he called my name (ME!) I was suddenly paralysed. Starstruck. And terrified. If the main man himself, the one who is in charge, the big boss, was seeing me, then there must be a problem. This is not good news.

I tried to convey all of this thought process to Olly through the power of my eyes. Not very successfully. As we entered the room I was steeling myself for what he was going to say. I was ready to hear it - how big? Where abouts? Operable? How long until surgery?

But my life isn't a film, and it was just Mr Bhangoo's day to do clinic. And my scan was fine. I don't have a brain tumour and I got to meet the man that saved my life, again. I have since thought of lots of things I would like to have said to him. Various ways of thank you I suppose. And maybe just a little hug.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's that time again.

My next MRI is tomorrow. I distinctly remember the anticlimax of last year, I even wrote about it. It was no big deal. So why am I so worried?

I've been doing a lot of running recently, and one of the best things about it is time to think. I've not had much time to myself since the baby was born and so it feels like a real luxury to just think for a while. Inevitably at this time of year I've been thinking a lot about head scans, brains and tumours.

I'm not sure if I ever asked, or if I've just forgotten, but I don't know how a tumour starts. Like, why does it begin?

When I was 12 I skied off a cliff. It wasn't intentional; I was trying to avoid a tree. Obviously with a bit of hindsight it wouldn't have been so bad crashing into a tree - no helicopters, splints or head scans would have been involved. On the plus side, I actually own copies of my 12 year old head scans which is pretty cool. And there is no tumour.

So where did it come from? When did it start? Why did it start? Why has this not occurred to me before?

Last week I managed to think my way through a 40 minute run, comparing my tumour to the entire universe (the world does revolve around me, doesn't it?). Either, I thought, it was created by God one day, or... there was an almighty big bang in my head (the cliff THE CLIFF), and then the tumour existed. (I admit, there are some failings to this comparison).

Oliver thinks it was a cell mutation, which makes sense. But even if that's the case, it doesn't really answer my question. Why? Why did it mutate? And why that one, and right then, in that way?

The thing is, I could have all the information in the world about how and why and what to expect, but until anything shows up on a scan it is all theoretical. None of it is worth wondering about even, it's such a waste of energy and worry - until there is a scan to look at. And tomorrow, there will be.

What is also not helping is the fact that I've had three migraines in the last five days. Not really recovering from one when the next hits. The last time this happened I was shovelled into an ambulance and ended up having my head sawn open. Bodes well.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the person doing the scan. They can see the results as it happens right, so they know, like straight away, if there's a whopping great lump of something in your head that isn't supposed to be there. What a weird job to know that about someone and send them merrily off home again to wait for a few weeks until they called in. I don't think I'm going to be able to stop myself staring at them on the way out, to see if they have pity in their eyes.