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An eloquent area. pt. 1

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.


About easilyriled

My mom was Edith, my dad was John. I have a brother, who is Shawn. I have many friends and allies and mentors in my life. I'm white, over-educated, working in a field for which I am not yet trained, messy, funny, smart, lesbian, feminist "Not the fun kind", as Andrea Dworkin said. But I, like the feminists I hang with, ARE fun. Radical feminism will be the roots of our shared liberation. Rejection of sex-stereotypes (gender) and male domination will give us wings.

18 responses »

  1. dark of the stars

    I’ll be thinking of you! Squeezers of boxes have to stick together!

  2. You seem to be a lovely, lucky and much appreciated and admired person. And I get it.
    This is valuable currency! Carry on with all this good energy, and thank you for sharing this very personal story. I’m a far away admirer and sender of good wishes.

  3. Thinking of you all morning, big hug for a big day.

  4. Here’s hoping you can feel this long distance hug!! ❤

  5. Many, many, many waves of love to you my friend xo I know you braver than most, stronger than them too and have a hell of a sense of humor; if anyone can survive brain cancer, it’s you.
    I have two words for the ‘friendly’ tumor but I won’t mess up your nice blog with my ineloquent speak. I will however say it’s not ‘your’ tumor, it is a hitchhiker, I like that, and you will leave it at the side of the road and go forward. I know you will.
    I hope you continue to write and fill us all in so we know when and where to bring dashboard Jesus when you need him.
    My thoughts, my love, my strength, are all flowing freely to you. You will survive this, in fact I believe you will turn this experience into something incredible, just like you. xo


    • Bless you, Erica, I’m completely held and protected by you and so many others. xo

      • I am very glad you feel that way. I am going to slip a little about me in here because I feel kind of incognito on the side 😉 and I’m not ready to tell anyone or discuss this thing with anyone…yet…until I get more information.
        I received some unwelcome and unexpected news when I went to see my Dr. yesterday regarding an MRI I’d had the week before on my lower back.
        There’s a thing on/in my spine. I call it that because I don’t know what it is yet. It’s 8mm small and somewhere in the region of my S11-12 area. Likely just a blip on the MRI and I feel like putting that here with you on your blog, since all has come around so well for you, a little luck may rub off on me. 🙂
        I must go in for another MRI, this time a thoracic spine MRI with contrast to get a better idea of wth this is. They know it’s dense as it only lights up intermediately on the T2 scale but that’s it. Could be nothing, could be something. I’m a little scared, okay, more than a little and maybe I’ll feel better once I get it down…on not paper but on blog? Hmmm…

      • Erica! How is your wee thing on your spine now? It IS good to write your feelings down, gets ’em outta the hamster wheel in your brain (I find that). I am sending love and prayers to the ancestors for you. Thanks for commenting. Love

  6. Tonight’s class doesn’t feel the same without you. We are all thinking of you!

    • I wouldn’t have been quite as much fun on Monday night, Jamie. Oh, I do SO love the cards you all made. I read them over and over. weeping and chuckling in turns. thank you. I’ll come visit before the end of the term, promise. xo

  7. Somehow, I feel that you are going to be okay. Maybe it’s the chicken me saying that, but I really do. And, I’m right a lot of the time when that feeling comes from … well.. that special place inside. Your surgeon is good at squash? Then you two are going to make this happen, and you will get back to being the wonderful teacher you are. I’m sticking with that thought. Much, much love to you…. put your bouffon on it. Trilby

  8. I admire your honest approach to life. Breath Erin, Breath. It was always the best advice I ever received and I am super glad to hear you espousing this philosophy.
    And minimal snot… xo

  9. My gf had a brain tumor I wanted to wish you much healing♡♡♡ you can do this ♡♡♡


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