Tag Archive: MRI

I was at my parents’ house celebrating Memorial Day. I was playing with my son, niece and nephew, teaching them how to walk on their hands. I felt wonderful. I drove home that night with my husband and son. At approximately 1:00 am I had a Grande Mal seizure. I am told that my body was jerking, I was jumping off the bed and I wet myself. Luckily my husband awakened to see what was wrong. He called 911 and changed my clothes. I was transported by ambulance to the hospital. I had another Grande Mal seizure on the way and one more once we got there. They asked my husband if I had taken any drugs like ecstasy. He told them I didn’t take drugs. They did a CT scan which showed I had a brain tumor. My husband told me and I began to cry. Now you have to realize I have no recollection of this night. I was taken then to Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. My son’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Hefner, met us at the hospital. They did an MRI that confirmed I had a brain tumor. He said he believed it to be an Oligodendroglioma. He said that they would have to operate on my brain to remove it.

My mother was very upset . I am told that every family member was there, but I don’t remember seeing any of them. I do remember my boss, Nancy Schrum, coming to visit me before the surgery, but that is the only person I truly remember. Why I only remember her is a mystery to me.. I had the brain surgery on June 1, 2001. I don’t remember it. My husband tells me I slept allot. I didn’t even know why I was in the hospital. I asked him if a helicopter fell on me! I had a dream that a helicopter fell on me. I never expected I had brain surgery or a brain tumor. I vaguely recall walking around the hospital. My husband says one night I got up to use the bathroom without assistance and fell and hit my head. I have no recollection of that either.

I was released on June 5, 2001. I had to be watched and taken care of for two weeks, doctor’s orders. Well, I am not one for having other people take care of me much less do my housework or take care of my son, especially when I am home. It was very hard for me to let other people do these things for me. I do have to admit that I got tired easily and took naps. Dana, my husband’s sister came for a few days, then my mom and then my husband’s mom. I was so glad when the two weeks were over. Not that I minded the company, that was great. But when they lifted a finger to clean, I felt guilty. Why should I have felt guilty? I shouldn’t have but I did.

I was on two anticonvulsants, Dilantin and Deprokote and steroids for swelling after surgery. On June 14 I had to go back to Dr. Hefner to have the staples removed. And, by the way, I couldn’t get the staples wet so I couldn’t wash my hair without help. Yet another thing that made me feel helpless. Anyway, I went to get my staples out and show him the rash on my face. He had my staples removed and then told me that I was having a reaction from the Dilantin.


My baby girl

Mimi is thirty-nine, but she is our baby, the youngest of our five children. Eleven years ago, in the wee hours of the morning after Memorial Day, we received a phone call. It was her husband, John on the line. He said they were at the Gastonia hospital. Mimi woke him up with jerking movements that rocked their bed. A seizure diagnosed by the ER led to tests including an MRI that showed a brain tumor. We took off for Gastonia and was witness to a seizure while she lay waiting for admittance to a ward. Nothing I’ve ever witnessed has affected me more.

Surgery was the next step. Transferred to Charlotte she was operated on by the same doctor that had saved her son’s life some years earlier when he was three months old and suffering from shaken baby syndrome. The infant had been a victim of a day care worker who, proved by tapes, had abused at least six babies in her care. However, our grandson was the only one that suffered permanent damage.

Mimi’s surgery was less than successful in that they could not remove the entire tumor. It was lodged against both lobes and the team of doctors felt that paralysis might occur if they cut deeper. Armed with anti-seizure drugs, Mimi was able to function normally after some rehab time, but could not get pregnant as the drugs could cause a maligned fetus. She accepted that she was to have only the one child. Legally blind, he sees around scar tissue in the retinas of his damaged eyes. His reading is slow and labored, but he perseveres.

Fast forward to June, 2011. Mimi’s bi-yearly MRI showed tumor growth. Surgery again, but the same constriction leaves much of the tumor in tact. Mimi is paralyzed on her right side. She cannot lift her arm and her right leg needs to be restrained because it kicks out, perhaps in protest. The seizure medication is increased and chemo started in pill form. The next MRI shows continued growth of the tumor so chemo dose is increased. Next MRI shows continued growth. Time to get chemo by injection. Vomiting and dehydration land Mimi back in the hospital. A different, new species of chemo is started. A former gymnast and fitness guru is sent home, a skinny, loose skinned woman–a shell of her former self. Still paralyzed on her right side she manages to walk with the help of a three pronged stick. Her right leg is braced to keep it under control, her right arm, dormant at her side. And still she has hope.