Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Parasitic Relationship - A Schwannoma Diary (#3).

I think I'm entering a phase of being angry now. 

I met with my neurosurgeon this afternoon to review the MRI scans that were captured over the weekend. 

They established the geography of the space occupying lesion at the base of my spinal cord. Even on the scans, it is a parasitic looking little shit. In fact, it's not so little. It's something in the order of an inch to an inch and a half in size - a dark, lobulated mass that is being fed by a rudimentary blood supply and, most likely, my cerebrospinal fluid - the fluid that bathes my spinal cord.

My little parasite - not the circle, the thing in the circle.

The theory goes that this tumour is one that has degraded over time. It started out as a healthy (???) schwannoma but some where along the way it degenerated into this cystic lesion. There's still a lot that is unknown about it. An MRI will give you good images and you can make certain assumptions about the make up of the structure and tissues featured in them. But they're assumptions. Guess work. Estimations.

We won't really know the composition of this thing until it's removed from me and it can be examined. 

I want to anthropomorphize it - to give it an evil agency so I can justify being angry and hateful towards it. 

But it's not evil. 

It has no agenda. I mean, it couldn't even grow properly, like a normal tumour would. It's a pathetic reject - a retarded tumour. It's just there. A stupid genetic abberation of my own making.

I can't sustain my anger. I end up feeling empty, perhaps a little bit guilty.

My retarded tumour.

The surgery has been set for next Tuesday, the 18th of December. I will undergo a laminectomy whereby the surgeon will re-enter my spine through the incision that was made 29 years ago. There's a lot of old scar tissue from that original operation that may or may not cause some problems. Scar tissue is not forgiving. I'll be under an anaesthetic for 3 - 4 hours. It could be less if my surgeon can get in there without too much trouble. Then, I'll stay in the hospital for 5 - 7 days.

That's where my stomach drops. Having to tell my children was crushing this evening. Christmas Day won't be the same. I won't even be home for it. We won't be able to observe our little traditions. Worse still, our planned interstate vacation looks unlikely to proceed. This is particularly upsetting. I haven't seen my parents or my brother for 8 months. There are old friends I haven't seen who I was looking forward to seeing. I haven't reconnected with home in all that time and it hurts. Some people don't understand how much it hurts.

I've noticed something about hospital forms - they never allow enough space to write your email address. I always end up squashing up my writing to make it fit. I'll have to bring that up with someone I reckon. 



  1. Everything’s moving very quickly Dean. Hope it all goes well.

  2. That is a lot to deal with on top of holidays. I'm so sorry. Taking care of it sooner rather than later has to be best, though the timing does suck. Your loved ones understand and support you, and maybe you can all declare a second Christmas on a later date that works better. You guys have earned it. Hugs!

  3. I am sorry you’re going through this all, not only once but for a bloody second time. The timing does suck. As corny or cliche as this is to say, family is family and whether you’re spending time together next to tinsel and turkey or next to drip stands and obs machines, it’s important and special. Your children will understand - now or in the future - that fixing you up is the most important thing. Tinsel and turkey can happen at anytime of the year - set aside a day after all of this. Maybe new traditions will even come about. Be gentle with yourself. I’ll be thinking of you lots.

    1. Thank you lovely Gem. Yes - we've certainly had to re-think our usual Christmas strategy this year. I'm sure we'll work something out.

  4. Oh gee. We'll be crossing fingers and toes for you that the surgery goes well. If you're up for visitors we'd love to pop into the hospital and see you. Xxxg