Monday: April 13th, 2015.
Today is Monday, April 13th. This marks the first day of my surgery week. I woke up and arrived at the James Cancer Hospital at 7am. From there I was prepared for a baseline “brain spect scan” for a pre-surgery I will be having tomorrow. The preparation included receiving an IV which then injected a radioactive substance to show the activity of my brain at its current resting state.
Tomorrow is a big day. I have my “balloon occlusion test”. This is a procedure where my doctor makes a small incision in my groin and places a catheter up into the carotid artery that runs through my tumor at the base of my skull. At the end of the catheter is a small balloon. The doctor gradually inflates the balloon, blocking off the blood flow to my brain from that artery. Because the doctor needs to see my level of responsiveness as the blood flow is reduced, I’m awake for the procedure. I am having this test to know if during my big surgery, if my carotid artery is damaged, whether or not a carotid bypass is mandatory. It’s a scary thing. It all is. But it is what I have to do in order to get better.
I cannot believe that this week is here already. I am nervous.. so nervous, but beyond ready to get this surgery under my belt. Everyone is nervous. The sleepless nights are only getting worse. I see the emotional strength in not only myself, but those around me, lessening. Now we are focusing on things day by day. I never imagined feeling the way I do now. I have never been more scared. As the days pass by so quickly I know soon I will wake up living a much different life. Although there is no way to prepare for something like this, I feel as ready as I could be. I am ready to be healthy again. I am ready to live a normal college life. I am ready to start fresh.
I beat Monday.
Monday: April 11th, 2016.
Today is Monday, April 11th. One year ago, this marked the first day of my surgery week. Today I woke up and arrived at The James Cancer Hospital at 7am. Instead of checking into registration and heading to my appointment, this year I clocked in for my shift and headed to my desk. As I sat there, the thoughts consuming all my attention were identical to those I felt on this Monday one year ago: the nerves, the butterflies, the unknown. But these feelings were for different reasons.
One year ago today I never thought I would be sitting here at work. One year ago today I never thought I would be going to school. One year ago today I never thought I would be living the life I currently am. No one thought I would be the girl I am today. This year has tested me in every way and this journey has been one in which no others compare. The life I lived Monday of last year was one far different from the one I lived today. Last Monday, I had everything: the nerves, the arteries, the bones, the movement, the voice, the tumor. All of the things I lack now, I used to have. But those were all removed and where they used to be is now covered by scars. Some scars visible to the eye. But many scars unable to be seen at all. But it’s the scars that make me, me. It’s the scars that remind me miracles truly exist. It’s the scars that make me see life in the way that I now do.
I cannot believe that this week is here already. I am still nervous, so nervous. But beyond ready to continue on my journey. Still after 365 days, discovering the new me is far from complete. There is much more to learn and there is much more to conquer. But each day I see the emotional strength in not only myself, but those around me, improving. Now we focus on the beauty behind the blessings we were given and the life that was saved. As the days pass by so quickly, I know each morning that I wake up was one more than expected.
I am thankful. I am lucky. I am a fighter.
I beat Monday, again.