As I mentioned in the Donkey’s Tale section of Countdown, I have tried over the last few weeks to gauge the success of the radiotherapy. The reason for this (other than my over-analysis of pretty much everything) is my recollection of the correlation between my brother’s symptoms and results.
Graeme’s two primary symptoms for his brain tumour were headaches and weakness/mobility issues in his left-hand side. The severity of these two symptoms were directly related to the size and spread of his brain tumour, as the results from his regular MRI scans showed. We didn’t know for sure until we were given each set of results but it turned out, time after time, that:
- when his strength and mobility had improved and his headaches had reduced in both severity and frequency, the scans showed a reduction in the size of the tumour; and
- when his strength, mobility and headaches had deteriorated, the scans showed that the tumour had grown.
I therefore naturally started assessing the performance of my own symptom symphony. The problem that I immediately encountered was that my particular (atypical and intriguing) mix of symptoms are interconnected in multiple (and, at times, seemingly opposing) ways. That is why I couldn’t even find a (symptoms) tail to pin on the (results) donkey.
“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside [my brain]”
Over the last few weeks I have mulled things over in my head about all the different ways in which I think my symptoms, treatments and side effects of treatments are interconnected. However, in a departure from my usual modus operandi, rather than trying to express this in prose, I created a Brainstorm chart in my mind’s eye. In the last couple of days, I have put pen to paper (and then fingers to iPad using a mind-map app) to recreate so far as possible the inner workings of my brain in this regard.
The Brainstorm is an embryonic concept that might continue growing into a tail. I could then move on to trying to pin that tail onto the donkey. For now, though, if a tiny toddle is good enough for Lao Tzu then the Brainstorm is good enough for me.
A Health Warning
I don’t expect many (if any) of you to follow my (self-perceived) logic and connections on the chart. They might well be based on me misunderstanding or misremembering something that the various members of my medical team have told me over the last five months. Nevertheless, I’m sharing it not only because it’s the fruit of my mental labours these last few weeks (and you just thought I’d been idling my days away) but because I think (if I do say so myself) that it looks pretty good considering it’s been created by a lawyer after being developed in her poorly brain.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the Brainstorm: