The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:  I made it into “my” woods the first weekend in April!  That is huge.  Teddy must have shrunk some due to the radiation because I was feeling a lot better.  And with my hiking poles, I was able to walk a bit, along Cabin John Creek among the budding spring vegetation and singing birds.  So beautiful.  And wow, I am out of shape.  After 3 months of eating too much, moving not at all, and insomnia, things feel a bit different than last summer.  But it was wonderful.  I repeated it the next day, going a little further and climbing a little hill before heading back.

The Bad:  If you don’t like reading about medical stuff, please stop reading now.  I finally had my appointment with a neurologist, the appointment that my ENT recommended before it was even confirmed I had something wrong with my brain.  I liked him a lot.  My main goal was to find out what will happen to me.  I found out.  It was all very scary and depressing.  But I asked, and he told me.

Teddy is an especially large tumor, given where it is located.  There is not a lot of room there.  He’s between the channel necessary for liquid flow and the brainstem.  Two things will happen.  The first is hydrocephalus.  When the tumor swells enough to close off that channel, there is nowhere for it to go, the brain swells, and I will suddenly feel very ill but with nonspecific symptoms (headache, lethargy, nausea, etc.).  If I get myself to a hospital, there is a solution.  They can put in a shunt to change the path of the liquid to somewhere else, but there may be no point if the second thing that will happen is imminent.

The Ugly:  The second thing that will happen is that the tumor pushes into the brain stem which is right behind it.  When that happens, it’s all over.  I lose the ability to speak and swallow.  Morphine and hospice and that’s it.

Given that I am feeling much better, the neurologist says it is okay to fly now, but probably not much longer.  And he raised a point I hadn’t considered – high altitude problems.  He recommends I stay away from high elevations because that means lower air pressure and thus more swelling of the tumor.  So give me a number, I said.  He threw out 5000’.  That’s not that high!  I looked through all my plans for my summer road trip.  Interestingly, the Rockies in the US and Canada probably shouldn’t be a problem.  My plans for Sequoia National Forest and Mesa Verde had to be cancelled. 

So, that’s where we are.  And I’m not feeling as good as I did last weekend.  Which is kind of freaking me out.  Maybe it’s just because I’m tired. 

May we all enjoy, as much as we can, every day that is given us.  For those of you celebrating religious holidays during these weeks, enjoy them especially.

13 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. I’m glad that some of your summer plans may still happen. Where in the Rockies are you thinking? And when will you go?


  2. Go far, go fast! My aunt used to have an expression, ‘Take the cookies when they’re passed.’ This is your time. Find joy! May Teddy be slow and kind.


  3. Though the news is not great I think it is better to know what to expext so you don’t have any surprises. This way you can plan accordingly. Your goal to make the most of each day is the best you can do. None of us know how long we will be in this life so to live each day as if it could be your last makes sense to me. I am glad you have been able to get out and enjoy nature. Springtime is such a time of hopefulness! Good luck on your journey!


  4. Thinking of you often and sending love your way. Being out in nature is precious and I am so glad you are able to hike the local CJ trails.


  5. I’m glad you were able to enjoy nature, Debbie. Thinking of you and sending lots of love your way!
    ❤️ Terri


  6. Let me know if you ever want to search for cool fungi along the path after a rainy spell. I’ll be there! You have always impressed me, Debbie. Now more than ever before.


  7. Glad to hear the Rockies is still on the table. Mesa Verde in the summer can be super hot and uncomfortable–not my favorite experience. And I’m sure there are some tall trees closer to sea level. As always, your strength is inspiring, Debbie!


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