The pathology report was given to my by my sympthetic neurosurgeon as I made final preparations to leave the hospital yesterday. He patted my leg and apologetically lowered the boom: Glioblastoma. Grade 4. Statistical prognosis around 14 months. I am dying of brain cancer. Report in a while for radiation, chemo, and more MRI scans to help prolong the process as much as possible. The brain, which has always been the most fascinating part of the body, is now the one part that threatens my life.
I am still recovering fairly well from surgery, dealing with a lot of head pain, jaw pain, and visual hallucinations. But I've been seizure free as far as I can tell, my hair is combable over the "Frankenstein spot", I remember stuff, and I think I have left most of my personality intact (as in, no - I didn't turn into a b****). I was able to exercise a little with the help of the physical therapist, and it looks like most of my neurological functions are good.
The emotional reaction to this news is very difficult. I am obviously sad and distressed by the news. Family and friends have barraged me with everything from hugs and prayers to angry insistence that I must become one of those who "beats the odds". I hear stories all the time of people who did. I watch my husband bear the weight of this news with his tears and fears. I hold my children and wonder how they will handle this.
Okay, so I believe we all have a date. We all have "our time" - you know, when the big bus of mortality runs you over. None of us is guaranteed to be here in fourteen months, let alone fourteen days. Fourteen months is never long enough. We always want more time. But there is a gift in knowing that the big bus will be coming, so we can be prepared for it. I will make better use of the coming year than I would have if I had just squandered it away and then tragically got caught off guard by the bus.
So the control freak in me is busily occupied with thoughts of things I need to do right now. Things left unfinished in life. Things unwritten. Words unspoken. Plans unmade. I am grateful for this opportunity, although it is distracting and overwhelming to think about. I pray that I will have the physical and mental strength to do these things in between medical interventions.
My other overriding thought is that there is the doctor's time, based on his best estimate (although he did grant me some favorable allowance for my age, tumor location, and the presence of the chemo wafer still in my brain, possibly buying me a small amount of extra time), and then there is God's time. God's will. I pray that it will extend my life long enough to raise my children and do all other things planned for my life. But as in all things, I believe the Lord's will must be done. He will care not only for me in this life and the next, but he will also care for my family. All may still be safely rested in his arms. But for now there is still a time of digesting and grieving some difficult news, and setting our sights on what is left of our future.