Embrace. Love. Live.
This isn’t a regular post, because today isn’t a regular day! This is long, but I assure you that you will enjoy it as its a little story about my brain surgery… Yes, I had one of those!
I recently lost a very good friend, and this post is very emotional for me. He was a the happiest person ever, and had a gorgeous family. I’m sure that he enjoy his time, loved his family, and live his life to the fullest!
Enjoy your time. Love those who really matter in you life. Those recent events made me think even more about this. Live is too precious to be wasting it around with grumpiness and sadness. Some times it gets tough, and difficult but that’s what make us who we are. Today is a very important day, and I wanted to share something with you all.
It was the afternoon of August 22, 2001, and we were celebrating the birthday of my older daughter. That evening, I came up with a horrible migraine. Sleeping was out of the question as each time I found my sleep, the pain just woke me up. Next morning at 5:00AM, I got up – as I did everyday to go to work. As soon as I stand up my head felt like exploding, and I went directly to the bathroom to empty my stomach.
I knew something wasn’t right, as the headache was so painful. I managed to get to our pediatrician’s office – as was the only doctor I had near by. Luckily, the office was located just in front of an emergency room.
As soon as Dr. Sanchez check me out he walked me to ER, and asked them to run all sort of labs and test – including a Brain CT. The pain was unbearable, and as the time goes by I was getting to the idea that I had developed migraine, and that one was the first episode… How wrong I was!
The results came, and the technician – all too nervous – said that a Neurosurgeon was on his way to talk about the findings of the CT results. Keep in mind that I was under the impression that the headache was just a simple case of migraine. Well, an angel sent from heaven – Juan Vigo, MD, came to the room and stated that I had a Colloid cysts located at my brain, in the third ventricle – Foramen Monro. That type of cyst, due to the location can cause me a sudden death, and he needed to start treatment in order to perform an emergency surgery.
Let me give you a moment to settle in such news…
So I screamed. I was in denial. I couldn’t believe it.
That outburst lasted just 5 minutes. I’m not sure what came over me… It was God or my Guardian Angel, but I said “Ok, Doc I trust you, and everything will be ok. Can I go home and say goodbye to my daughter?”
And so I did. I went home, spoke with my girl, and explained her that Momma needed to be out for a few days but that Grandma will take good care of her, while Momma was gone. Then the journey begun!
When I got to the Hospital, everyone was waiting for me. I found out the Doctor Vigo was the Head Chief of the Neurosurgery Department, and also the Director of the Neurosurgeon Department at the University of Puerto Rico. He was the teacher of the teachers the teach neuro science. Pretty cool!
He explained that my case was very rare, and asked permission to bring his students to learn about it. Apparently, my diagnostic was so rare that most of the doctors only get to see it on books. I said yes, and my room was full most of the time, with young future doctors, and curious nurses. The story of my life… I’m a weirdo. The only difference is that now I’m a documented one! 😀
They gave me meds to lower the inflammation as I developed hydrocephalus, a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain, making an enormous pressure over my brain. The day of the surgery – August 28, 2001 6:00AM – came, and I was up since 4AM. The doctor explained all the possible outcomes of the surgery; from brain damage, to paralysis, to amnesia, to death. He also stated that he can “go in… get out… and leave me a cute scar on my head…” I was so confident and sure that he was going to do just that… And that’s what he did.
I wasn’t worry. I knew that everything was going to be ok, and I’ll be home in no time. I lost all my curls, but I was a very cute bold girl. Thanks to Sinéad O’Connor for her style… I rocked it!
As a funny fact… The surgery was very long and complicated. I was in for 6 hours. Then took me to the recovery area, to be able to wake up from the anesthesia. As soon as I was able to move, I began the “inventory” of my movements. Don’t forget that the doctor mentioned paralysis.
I knew who I was – checked!
I remembered my family – checked!
I was awake – checked!
So, can I move?
With my eyes closed, I started little by little… Fingers, feet, legs, hands, arms, head… I was so excited – but still a little druggy. My movements weren’t that smooth, but hey? I WAS MOVING ALL OVER! Due to my excitement, I didn’t realized that when the nurses went crazy, asking for the doctor to came because “the patient was seizing”, that they were all talking about me.
No longer after that, I heard the calm voice of the doctor asking “Zeide what are you doing?” I just stopped, open my eyes wide open, and said… “Making sure that everything moves…” He laugh, and asked for a nurse to be at my side all the time, because “the next thing she will do is run out of here…”. And so they did… I had a permanent babysitter. They took me to my room, and I felt perfect.
The next day when the doctor came to check on me, I was taking a shower. I don’t have to tell you that the nurse that suppose to be watching me, received a verbal warning, but by the next day and due to the fantastic recovery, I was able to go home. The first thing we did when I got out, was to picked my girl. I was concerned that she wouldn’t like a very bold Mama, but she just looked at me, cares my cheek, and said “Mi mami” (My Mommy). At that point I KNEW that I was going to be fine! I returned to work after 15 days, and everything went back to normal before the end of the month.
Not all was peaches and cream. I had my days, and I needed to learned how to communicate, as my brain now work faster that my ability to talk. I couldn’t understand why if I had it on my head, I couldn’t said it… I discovered that I had a 5 second delay (still have) 😀 So I reconfigured, and learned to think… and then talk… Something that we all need to do, right? When I’m nervous or angry, I need and extra minute…
It’s been 15 years since that terrifying experience. And I learned so much from it. I appreciate the little things, my family is the most important thing, I love being able to just wake up everyday, and be here. DOn’t get me wrong. The surgery didn’t made me perfect. I still get frustrated with the everyday things, I get emotional, I get angry… But today is that day where I reset and remember how lucky I am. I won’t be winning the lotto any time soon, but I have another day to count my blessings.
Being able to just breath everyday, makes me happy. We tend to forget about the little miracles that we experience everyday and how amazing we are. Take a minute to realize how amazing you are…
- The ability to dream, and the perfect timing when your eyes open each morning
- The way your chest rise with every breath even without you noticing it
- The sensation of the cold floor under your feet, that tells you that you are up and ready for a new day
- The sound of your children calling your name as the first thing, when they open their eyes
- The warm sun in your face
- The dark circles under your eyes that are a reminder of how sleep deprived you are but how happy you feel
- The fabulous smell of the coffee that it’s waiting for you, as you remember to schedule the auto-brew
Those friends who lived it with me, knows how hard it was, and how happy I am to be here and share my story.
I made it!
Embrace life… Be grateful for the little miracles… Enjoy your time with your love ones… Everything could end “suddenly”!
Lots of love,