When I found out that Teagan was going to have to have a 2nd surgery I was by myself. Dave was at work and Teagan and I went to see Dr Young. He told us her tumor had grown 2 millimeters in all directions and he would have to do another surgery and get the rest of the tumor. He told us that because the remaining and now growing tumor was so deep the damage left behind could be extensive especially with motion. He was right. I immediately developed a headache and it didn’t go away until sometime after the surgery which was more than 2 weeks away. Did I mention this was exactly 1 week away from Christmas?
After leaving Dr Young’s office with surgery set for January 7th I decided to wind my way back though the hospital to Dr Goodman’s office. Remember my first night at the hospital and I got lost? Yeah … now I can draw detailed maps and give tours. It’s a pretty long walk between the offices and the whole time all I could think was that I would have to tell my mom she had to have another surgery. And it was a week before Christmas. I didn’t have an appointment but Dr Young told me that after surgery and she recovered for a few weeks she would have to start chemo so I wanted to find out when that would be. Dr Goodman came out with a doll to show Teagan that showed her what her “button” would look like and where it would be placed. She explained why chemo would take 14 months and a little bit about what the schedule would be like. Again she made me feel a little bit better when things seemed to suck.
Teagan convinced me to stop at Chick-Fil-A – more for the playroom than the chicken. While she was playing I called Mike at work and started babbling again. I guess by this time Mike was used to me calling and babbling or just babbling in general. I remember him asking “14 weeks?” — I mean I was babbling at this point so I can see the confusion — “No, 14 months.”
The headache that started in Dr Young’s office the week before Christmas stayed through Christmas and New Years and up until January 7th. It was there in the morning, in the afternoon and at night and no matter how much Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin I took it never went away. The first surgery was unexpected and we only had 2 days notice and I’m pretty sure we were in shock. Having 2 weeks to stew over it was not good. Plus this time I knew what to expect afterwards. Add to it that it was the most stressful time of year – Christmas. The first surgery I didn’t think about the “What If’s.” But this time they were all I could think about.
And there was the “button” (IV port) which would be placed right before Dr Young started his surgery. I guess what made the most difference was the chemo. Suddenly now there wasn’t just physical and occupational therapy, but weekly blood draws and weekly chemo treatments. So much more to schedule and keep track of. My mind was on the verge of blowing up. And to add to it we started letting Dawson take weekly pitching lessons because we didn’t want him to feel like he wasn’t getting any attention.
I “phoned in” Christmas and I’m pretty sure I worked on New Years so I could avoid all the parties and happiness. Actually I know I worked New Years Eve because I remember coming home to everyone asleep on the couch and it was just me and Dick Clark at midnight. There was just this giant looming words in my head “WHAT IF.” And there were hundreds of them. What if something went wrong with the surgery, what if there was extensive damage and she couldn’t walk, what if I can’t figure out a schedule at work so that we can do weekly chemo treatments. what if she looses her hair…… the list was never-ending and always running along next to my permanent headache.
The headache truly took over. I don’t remember much leading up to the surgery. I remember meeting the surgeon who was going to place her port just before she went into the OR. He was a little odd; he wore cowboy boots with his scrubs and wouldn’t shake our hands due to germs and when we met him after surgery his hand was all bandaged up like he had cut it. Her 2nd brain surgery only lasted about 3 hours. And although she was exceedingly grouchy when she woke up this time – she didn’t have as much swelling or pain like she had before. I didn’t have an anxiety attack and I didn’t nearly pass out this time. I considered that a plus. She was a lot more alert after this surgery than before. And as a result we only spent 3 1/2 days in the hospital.
It wasn’t until we got back home that I realized……. my perpetual headache was instantaneously gone.
Now we faced a new journey…. a 14 month journey.