Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sharing the Brain Tumors

I am the only one in my family who is allowed to have a brain tumor. I have 5, that is more than enough for the 4 of us.

Over the last 6 months my husband Paul has been having health problems. It started with headaches, lethargy, and swollen lympth nodes behind his ears. It progressed to bouts of depression and problems with his hormones and cholesterol levels. After months of assuming it could be nothing serious, yesterday Paul was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma.

From what I understand, if you are going to have a brain tumor, a pituitary adenoma is one of the most common and easily treatable when caught early. Paul's has been caught so early that they underlined tiny on his MRI report. What I do not understand is if it is so tiny, how is it causing so many problems? The pituitary gland itself is very small, so even a tiny tumor is cause for alarm, especially when it is symptomatic as Paul's has been.

For once, Paul is lucky to have a wife with NF2. I know all the best neurologists and we are informed of the treatment options. Watch and wait, drug therapy, surgery, radiation. I've gone through all of these, and oddly, Paul says he is excited to experience a bit of what I have gone through in order to understand me more.

My concern, he says that now. If he does end up having Gamma Knife as the endocrinologist suggested, he would have the frame bolted to his head and be locked into a machine to have hundreds of gamma rays focused at one area in his brain. Paul is strong and would no doubt come out unscathed, so the next time I need treatment is he going to hold me to his 1 tumor standards? Will that be the least of my concerns in the long run? These tumors can cause seizures and dizziness, Paul is an ironworker. This could affect his entire career, and our financial stability.

In the end... or actually the beginning... I just want Paul to not have a tumor. I stare at his head instead of focusing on whatever random tv show we are watching, wishing I could just reach in and pull it out. I want to only be concerned for his health, but keep selfishly considering the ramifications to myself as well. So maybe we both are getting a glimpse of the other side of the fence.


Riley and family said...

Oh, Olivia! I am so sorry to hear this news. You two will face this with courage and optimism like you always do to get through it:) Keep us updated on how Paul is, my heart goes out to you both! HUGS!!!!

erin said...

I am so sorry to hear about you and your hubby. I will keep you in my prayers.

Rebecca said...

Olivia, my heart goes out to you and sorry for the delayed comment. I am just reading this now as I have been pretty busy over the last couple weeks.
What I am about to say will probably offer you little relief but I believe this situation is a mere stepping stone to something better and a slight bump in the road of your journey together which will strengthen your bond. Hugs to you and know that you are in my prayers!

Love. Beck

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