Hello, Beautiful People
The neurosurgeon said last week that my tumour is in “an eloquent area” of my brain. I like the sound of that. It means that there’s lots of stuff going on there. Here’s what the November 7 MRI said:
There is a focal cortical expansion and high FLAIR signal involving the left parietal lobe extending through the pre and post central gyrus. This extends over an area measuring approximately 3.5x 3.0 cm. There is minimal faint intrinsic T1 signal distributed throughout this area without associated enhancement. this extends along the posterior aspect […]
dammit. I started this six days ago. Now it’s November 20, the eve of my biopsy, and i can’t find the mri results. Not that i know what they mean exactly, but the neurosurgeon, Dr. Zwimpfer, (which is kind of a badass name and fills me with confidence) said that it is in an area responsible for motor and sensory function. Not in the sense of humour part, or the memory part, or the accordion-playing part. Though accordion also involve motor and sensory, but never mind.
Anyway, I went to the appointment with Trish, Kim and Susan. They have been right beside me. So have many many other people. Since i wrote that first post about the thing in my head, I tell you what, I have been overwhelmed by the love. I can’t tell you. Louise was here to visit her brother and nieces and their families, and she stayed over an extra night. Shawn, my brother, said he and Wendy would come if I wanted them, my friend Glynnis in Alberta, she said she’d come too – I’m a little embarrassed, really. All this attention, and I feel fine. Really.
My students were on their two-week practicum when this all happened, so Monday the 14th was our first day back together. They were all excited about their practicum experiences, and I really wanted to hear about them, too, but it was also the last week we would be together. I had all three classes on Monday. Two of them meet twice a week for an hour and a half, and one meets once a week for three hours. Monday I wore my new Utilikilt (I bought it when I returned from the Ancestral Homeland – all inspired by Edinburgh. Way too expensive, but it has pockets!) and ironed my shirt and wore a bow tie and a wool suit jacket. I brought Ruby, my accordion. I told each class, after we did a few minutes of breathing together (I do that before every class, a few minutes of attending to our breath, settling in with the space and each other). I said, “I don’t know how to say this gently, really, I have a brain tumour”. Sometimes some of us started crying right away, sometimes a little further in to the explanation. I usually started crying when I got to the part about, “I’m not going to be able to finish the term with you”.
I referred to it as “a wee hitchhiker”, and I said it was almost friendly as brain tumours go, not to worry. And I said the neurosurgeon has a great name and looks like a squash player, so probably has good hand-eye coordination. That’s good in a neurosurgeon. I told each class that I love them, and I thanked them for their generosity and curiosity. In the morning class, a woman told me that she admired my teaching and my passion. A man told me that he found this class was a safe space to feel uncomfortable, and to talk about things fully, to hear different ways to thing about things. I said, “I didn’t tell you so you could say all this nice stuff about me, but, you know…you don’t have to stop either”.
Usually I write objectives for the class on the whiteboard. “by the end of this class, you will be able to…” but Wednesday I didn’t. I told my Wednesday classes, “my only objective is to get through the class with minimal snot on my shirt”.
I have to go now, Trish is coming to get me. but I will tell you later about Mike’s bow ties on Wednesday, and about sitting in a circle after class on Monday, and the emails and cards and shared tears and gifts – and my cousin Bev calling from Saskatchewan, “We can feel the love for you out here!” she said. It’s gonna be okay.