IN WHICH I AM TAKEN TO MAT-SU REGIONAL AND TREATED VERY KINDLY—AND FOR GOOD REASON TOO—IWOULD FIND OUT WHY LATER.
The rush of the emergency room, a swift IV, a quick X-Ray and CAT-SCAN, and then a slower MRI. And yet, the staff itself never made me feel like it was too rushed. Despite being an ER Doc, Dr. Lee was a calming man. He was very careful and slow as he came to tell me, “I’m hesitant to tell you this, but we found something in your CAT-SCAN, so we’ll need to do an MRI…”And later, with pictures included, “You have a brain tumor.” I am excellent with proportions and spatial thinking, so immediately I was calculating that it was baseball-sized—which is HUGE!!! I did not cry just then. I felt as if I was given an extra burst of calmness somehow. And so Dr. Lee continued, “Are you sure you understand?” Was he kidding? How could I possibly understand? What former experience was I to draw upon at this point in the summer of my thus-far charmed life? I know now that there is something special that happens to a person who truly cannot understand such news: her brain, whether or not tumor-ridden, just shuts down. My husband, Jon and I had no frame of reference. EVER. AT ALL. What complete bewilderment, startlement, and shock. In many ways, I feel like my brain is still stuck back at this stage.
We decided to go home that night instead of transferring immediately to Providence Hospital here in Anchorage. Before leaving, a nurse came in and handed out 3 blankets for Kirsten, Eva, and me. Its funny, because at the time I thought, “Aren’t these usually donated to people with serious problems, like cancer?” But almost in the same breath, “Well, I guess I have had an awful day…” Notice the cancer idea had not yet hit home. In fact, it would not until after the surgery. The nurse knew so much more than we did.