Cautiously Optimistic: The Deleted Scenes

For those who love extended editions and missing scenes.

Possible Second Surgery

I haven’t even had the first surgery and yet I am totally intrigued and fascinated by the possibility of a potential second surgery with me remaining awake. Whether this will be a recommended treatment will depend on the tumour type, location, proximity to “important stuff” (technical term) and the availability of other treatment options. However, Mr H was interested to know if it’s something that I would never agree to so he can rule it out as an option if needed. I didn’t quite shout “Bring it On” but, on reflection, I might have come across as a bit too keen…

The reason to keep me awake would be to test my brain function as they scoop out the tumour and check step-by-step that removing more of the tumour would help rather than hinder me. Graham suggested to me afterwards that they might get me to play the guitar to monitor the function in my hand and arm as that’s apparently something these crazy brain surgeons might do. It would certainly be a novel way to assess any deterioration in my brain function by evaluating my ability to play an instrument I’ve never played!

So I’ve met the guy who is going to touch part of my brain, and that’s pretty cool to me. When we got home, Mam queried how anyone could want to do that job but immediately corrected herself when she saw my expression and said: “Rachel, don’t volunteer to perform surgery on yourself, I’ll need to be under general anaesthetic even if you aren’t!”.

First things Second

Back to the confirmed surgery on Thursday rather than the possible Hannibal-esque adventures of the future, I’ll be going into hospital on Wednesday for pre-op checks and, all being well, should be discharged on Friday.

I was a bit distracted by the Hannibal prospect so I don’t profess total recall of everything else, but I think Mr H said the pre-op checks will probably include neurological tests (I need to revise!) and another scan.

I’ll be going under general anaesthetic for the biopsy (how mainstream). My head will be pinned in a frame and marks will be made on my head to pinpoint where they’ve decided to enter my skull. The location will be decided by balancing which bit of the tumour is likely to give the most definitive biopsy result (i.e., where can they get the biggest sample to test?) with planning where any second surgery would be likely to have the most benefit (i.e., why make two holes in your head when one will do?).


After recounting my seizure adventure and our family history, I initially didn’t feel ready to look at the MRI scans as one can’t easily (ever?) forget such things. However, once we discussed the indicative results and my cautious optimism took hold, I felt that I did want to see the illegal immigrant after all so we had a look. I now wish I’d asked to take a photo!

Those in the know think that the immigrant looks like it has been living there a while given its size and low-grade markers. Apparently, it might actually have been there for years (YEARS!!). I’m encouraging a BRain EXIT for the interloper as quickly as possible (sorry, I tried but I couldn’t resist making the obvious joke!).

Anti-Seizure Medication

Mr H thinks the residual lack of movement in my foot might be the result of a continuing sub-atomic/sub-conscious/subway seizure. I’m almost certain that none of those words were used; any ideas as to what the medical term might have been? In any event, the upshot is that my anti-seizure medication has been upped by 50% to try to ease the ongoing symptoms.

What Kind of Day Has it Been?

I’m definitely taking today as a “win”.

It’s been a tiring day but thankfully not stressful to me; I get more nervous entering a party on my own than I did waiting to meet He Who Will Touch My Brain.

It was very emotional seeing my parents when I got back from hospital. Graeme sadly always got the worst possible news about his brain tumour and we three in particular can’t help but compare every step of my brain tumour journey to his. I couldn’t help but think at the start of the day that anything other than the worst news (which, in my mind, would have been that it’s not even worth doing a biopsy) had to be taken positively and that’s what we’ve done.

I’m not getting carried away as there are undoubtedly a lot of uncertainties and difficulties ahead with no indications of long-term prospects. But I’m feeling peaceful about the day and that will do me for now.



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