Carol's Story

Carol's Story

I am writing ten weeks after I underwent surgery to remove a meningioma tumour from the left lateral side of my brain.  The operation was in November 2016. 

The tumour symptom that originally sent me to my MD was an accelerating loss of vocabulary. He ordered a CT scan which diagnosed the tumour and before long I was also having small seizures roughly twice per week. They brought dizziness accompanied by a strong unpleasant taste and smell which lasted about five seconds. A neurological surgeon was recommended and consulted and, given the size of the invader (6 x 5.5 cm) and the seizures, he prioritized surgery for three weeks later.  
To be expected, this was a difficult time. My husband and I live in Victoria, BC and decided to take daily hour-long walks. The diversion, relaxation and conversation time helped us cope.
When the awaited day arrived I underwent seven hours of surgery and spent two days in ICU. I am grateful to report that the outcome was perfect. This was more than we expected and showed my husband and I that trying to keep an open mind prior to surgery, although difficult, is best.
After ICU I was put in a four bed neurological 'mid-ward' that is tasked to provide more in-depth care than the general wards. On my first day I was encouraged to walk. The hospital Resident doctor gave me the option of going home within a day or so, advising that I would feel better there. I chose to stay in the ward for four days and when I did go home I found the doctor was right - I felt less of a patient and more capable. Surprisingly enough, I could also do short walks outside after a day or two.
Eight weeks after surgery my surgeon called me in to answer any post-operative queries and to discuss continuation of anti-seizure medication plus my returning to driving. For me, both are contingent on a six month period free of seizures. I visited my MD to plan post surgery recuperation from, for example, a sore neck, a painful jaw muscle allowing only partial opening of the mouth (common after some surgeries I believe), short term memory loss (possibly a medication side effect), mild anxiety, and low level loss of mental focus. He is optimistic these will all pass over time. And they are.
Two further sources of assistance I plan to investigate are a Physiatrist (MD referral required) who is a medical doctor specializing in recuperative medicine, and Healthlink, free online 'access to non-emergency health information and advice in British Columbia'. My MD has also been happy to provide and discuss my surgeon’s pre-operative and post-operative reports.
As my doctor often reminds me, surgery is a traumatic event for our brains to recuperate from and it takes time, at least up to one year, for them to recover. In the meantime I want to thank Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for providing the support which is essential both before and after surgery.
Thank you Carol for sharing your story!

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