Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Hi friends! In two weeks from today I very well may be tumor free. Perhaps I'll still be in surgery. Nevertheless, two weeks from today is when my life will drastically change.

I'm nervous. Excited. Anxious. Scared. Freaked. Ready.

I am ready to get it out and start moving forward.

I wouldn't be ready if it weren't for my awesome friends.

Growing up I always internalized things (still do for the most part) and I never really shared much with people. Although I was always VERY social. My overall friend circle was always massive, but really the good friends I trusted and loved wholeheartedly I could count on three fingers.

My grandmother and Alicia were always part of that count. I still count Alicia, but I have added my mother. My nana died in 2001. I sure miss her a lot.

My point is, I had lots of superficial friends and acquaintances. Even when I met my son's father, my second ex-husband, I had a handful of good friends and masses of superficial ones.

But that has changed since divorcing Mark. After I split up from him I decided that I needed new friends. Sure I would keep the friends we made together, but I needed to branch out and make my own - rebuild, if you will.

I did just that. But the difference now, as opposed to when I was younger, is that there are masses of friends. And they aren't all superficial. They are real. I know that now. Sure, I have my core group of friends - the ones who know everything about me (all the bad and all the good). Those friends are my lifeblood — Zachary, Emily, Sammi, Tim, Deanna, Alicia. But I also have completely amazing friends who I have come to love and cherish and whom I want to tell it all to (and I will). Friends who have been here for me all along over the last few years — Monika, Sunny, Bruce, Jennifer, Mary, Western. I won't name everyone. But if you are a friend I adore - you will know it. Even my latest and newest friends I feel close to — all the Sara/Sarahs, my new blog friends, my friends of friends, my friends I only see sometimes. I seriously can't name you all, but I would if I weren't so lazy. Just know that if I have communicated with you over the phone, in person, online, and we have shared lovey thoughts, kindness and intimate details, you are counted. I count you as my very good friend. And I am so thankful to have you in my life.

I mean, I even feel close to my sometimes boyfriend's ex-wife, Catherine. She is the bee's knees and I wish I lived closer to her. I don't know if I have just become more lovable and likable or if I just really like to have friends. Whatever it is, it warms my heart and makes me happy to know that I have so many people to love and that so many people love me (and Harry). Thank you all - I mean that from the bottom of my heart. And the top and middle of my heart, too. I really do appreciate all the kindness, support and good energy.

I truly think I am the luckiest girl in the world - or at least in the U.S.

My friends set up a few pages online. First is the facebook page - if you are on facebook, "like" the page and go there for updates, etc. during my surgery and recovery:

Saying Goodbye to Joey's Brain Tumor

And also there is a donation site if you feel like donating some greenbacks towards my expenses during my time off work/medical bills. I never in a million years thought I would be in the position to ask for this type of help. It's humbling and I greatly appreciate the steps my friends are taking to help me out. Everyone who donates or helps in any way will get a personalized thank you card I will send to you during my recovery - you may even get a card from my hospital room, written in a morphine-induced state.

Help Pay Off Joey's Brain Tumor

My friends are hosting a benefit/fundraiser at my BFF's bar, The Cellar Dweller on Saturday, April 30. I hope you will come. Because the Gorgeous Ilsa the Wolf will be there doing her famous fan dance. Party starts at 8 and show starts at 9. Squeeeeeeeeeee

This week on Friday I have my pre-op with the neurosurgeon. Next week is my hospital pre-op. I imagine it will start becoming very real during that appointment.

I'll update more and more and more as we get closer.

Thank you for reading and going on this journey with me. I really COULD NOT do it without you.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Lists and Things

I have 19 days to go until my head gets sliced open during translabyrinthine brain surgery. Say that 6 times fast.

My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4 at St. Francis Hospital.

Here is how it's going down:

1. Doctors will knock me out.
2. They will slice open my scalp, behind my left ear.
3. They will remove my mastoid bone (not for good, I don't think - I hope they give it back).
4. And totally remove my inner ear, forever.
5. They will scoot some stuff over and then get to work on removing the tumor from my 8th cranial nerve.
6. Then they will, I guess, put back my mastoid bone and close me up. But first the doctors will slice open my belly and scoop out some fat to use during the stitching/stapling process. I guess my scalp will be stretched open for a number of hours (from 6 to 20 hours) and so they need to fill it in with some fat, because it will be stretched out. Ugh.
7. Then they will cut another hole in my scalp over my mastoid bone and insert a small titanium implant that will transfer sound vibrations to the functional cochlea. Yes, I'm very cool.
I am not sure how long I will be in the hospital, but probably for about a week. Then I will maybe be recovering and off work for about a month.

I don't know all the details yet because I haven't had the surgery. Everyone tolerates it differently. I am very positive that I will jump right out of bed 4 hours after brain surgery and be released to go home.

My new famous friend Marla told me yesterday to, "plan for all outcomes, and expect the best!" She is allowed to tell me positive stuff like that because she had the exact same surgery. And she is still gorgeous, awesome and fine. So, I trust her.

But chances are, realistically, I will be in ICU for a few days. Then in the hospital for a few more. Then home recovering for about three. Then I will be back at work. That's my plan.

So, I am worried about some things. Here is a list of a few things I am worried about:

1. What if my visitors see my butt?

I mean, hospital gowns aren't known to cover you up well. And what if a visitor sees my boob/s or, shudder, my va-jay? I'll be mortified.

I asked Zach last night what he'd do if he saw my butt and he had some smart-assed remark. Then I told him that he'd probably want to marry me. So, he isn't an accurate example. Bottom line (pun unintended), I don't want ANYONE to see my butt.

2. What if my lips get chapped during surgery? I hate chapped lips. And being in surgery for up to 20 hours means that I won't be applying and reapplying chapstick on an every-15-minute basis. Do you think I can put a big slab of vaseline on my lips before I go in and that'll take care of it?

3. What if I die? This is the only thing I am truly worried about. I mean, who wouldn't be? But I have 19 days left — I HAVE to be positive at this point. Positive that I won't die.

4. What if I get out of surgery and recover and never have sex again because of some tragic flaw in surgery? Like what if I am rendered uncoitusable (yes, that's a totally made up word) because I am no longer attractive (not that I am currently Miss Universe). But really, what if?

5. What if I wake up from surgery and look like this?

6. I'm worried that I will all of the sudden wake up in the middle of brain surgery and be like WHAT THE FUCK!?! Man, that would suck.

7. I am worried that I am going to make my friends and family worry during surgery. I don't want them to worry. I want them to all just hang out and wait for me to come out of surgery just fine.


OK, what else?

The last few weeks have been pretty good. I've spent quality time with my little lad and my friends and family. I've gotten TONS of stuff done at work and home.

Blah. There isn't much more to report. Well, there is, but I have all the sudden lost my momentum. It must be this stupid brain tumor.

Oh, yeah, I think I need a little mascot, if you will, to accompany me into the surgery room. Perhaps a stuffed animal. Is that babyish? Probably.

That's all for now.