Jeremiah Ray - Brain Surgery (And Typing With One Hand)
I guess I should know this by now, but I evidently don't', things change very quickly-- alarming quickly.
the other day I noticed that typing was a little challenging with my left hand. it was difficult to access certain keys. later that day, when attempting to play guitar I again noticed the fluidity with which I normally fingered the chords (using my left hand) wasn't present.
The following day, yesterday morning, while driving back from an appointment, I lost complete mobility in my left arm. unsure if this was a seizure, a stroke... a clotting issue, my sister took me to the ER. as most of my ER stories go, they did a number of tests, the first of which, after vitals, was a CT scan of the head. what they discovered explained the loss of mobility/motor function in my left arm -- a 3.2cm lesion located on the back rear (right) lobe in and around parietal and occipital lobe. (this is what im piecing together from the various doctors I've met. still trying to grasp the facts.) the MRI i had on jan 30 showed no sign of this (what is assumed to be) metastatic spread.
Unlike the other brain lesion that was dealt with using solely stereotactic radiosurgey (SRS) in early October (2016), this one will initially be surgically resection and then SRS will be used. the main reason for that is its size.
this will most likely push-back the stem cell transplant a few week or so, considering the healing time and then the radiation therapy afterwards. that & this new and particularly aggressive/fast growing brain met seems most urgent at the moment.
the surgical resection is scheduled, as of right now, for tomorrow, the 30th of April.
I'm typing with one hand, so replies might be brief, if at all.
never, ever a dull moment...
Had things not changed, had everything stayed on course, I would have begun the preliminary stem cell transplant steps today (may 5) at mass general hospital (MGH).
It is hard to believe it was over a week ago today i was rushed to the ER. now, today, i understand clearly what was happening. at the time however, i was in tears to the paramedics while en route trying to explain my health history in one long-winded sentence, as well as explain that currently i couldn’t move my left arm.
… why am i still so surprised how fast things can & do change?
when i first met the neurosurgeon he was optimistic that the 3.2cm lesion in my brain was merely causing swelling and this swelling was pressing against a supplementary motor cortex (voluntary movement HQ). he was optimistic. however, his tone changed after steroids, administered to help decrease swelling when the lesion was discovered, didn’t assist in bringing back the slightest movement in my fingers or arm. i am able to hoist the weight of the arm using my shoulder, but there is no grip or dexterity in my fingers, hand, wrist, etc. & bending it at the elbow isn’t yet possible entirely on my own/without extra guidance from my right arm. it is the strangest thing to be looking at my fingers and telling them, asking them, pleading with them to move and they don’t.
i still have sensation and can detect touch, warm/cool temps, etc.… so this is where the hope will reside for recovery of mobility & use.
rather than just being swelling from the lesion causing pressure, the surgeon feels part of the lesion (part of it) was pushing against one of the primary motor cortex bands that run along this particular section of the brain. i am still trying to wrap my head around this… but it does explain the continued immobility of the extremity.
future stem cell transplant steps are being postponed for a few weeks. naturally, there is quite a bit of healing to do in the meantime and any sort immune compromising regiment can’t be undertaken until later in the month. Even then, they may want to opt for radiation therapy, similar to what was used to address the first brain met, prior to moving forward with the stem cell transplant. hopefully, over the next week, i’ll have a better understanding…
In the meantime i’m eager to get into physical therapy and start working this arm. this physical limitation is proving harder to deal with than all the chemo hangovers thus far experienced.