Facing the Inevitable

Brain surgery.

I’ve been to ophthalmologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, all for the purpose of discussing prospective surgery, but it never quite sunk in, never really felt real. Even typing the words feel foreign to me, but it looks like I’m going to have to start getting used to it. Yes, you read that right. I’m getting brain surgery.

Never in a million years would I have believed someone if they told me a year ago I would be in the position I am today, but here I am. It seems my fate has been sealed for a while now; it was only a matter of time until it became reality. Today, in my consultation with Dr. Shahinian, he briefly explained my case. Although not an emergency situation (thank goodness), the way the cyst is positioned in my brain and the pressure it’s putting on certain tracts (I can’t remember the specific names, they were quite fancy) that puts more pressure on things such as my optic nerve, it’s hindering my vision and causing all the symptoms I’ve relayed in previous blogs. In the MRI that was conducted about two weeks ago it revealed some buildup of fluid and pressure in my brain. At this point, surgery is the only option we have. Due to my extensive list of allergies to medications, the drugs that I could take to help stabilize my vision would only cause me to have some nasty reactions. So the question now isn’t if I’m going to have surgery, but when.

As Dr. Shahinian described it to my parents and I, right now, this is not a medical decision, but a family decision. Yes, I do have to have surgery, but because I am not too far along in the severity of my symptoms we get to decide when. As you may expect, brain surgery is no simple feat and there are a lot of complications and risks coinciding with it. Together with my teachers and counselor we are going to have to find a time that is best for me academically and physically. Basically right now it comes down to quality of life. My vision is only expected to get worse, and that attack I described in one of my previous blogs that occurred on senior night was in fact due to the cyst in my brain, and is also expected to occur repeatedly as time goes on. Things aren’t going to get better on their own unfortunately, they’re only going to get worse. We just have to decide when worse is worse enough to do the procedure.

When I get the surgery there are no guarantees for what my vision or truly anything regarding my health will be like after. There is generally a period of about two weeks with continuous blurred or double vision but it can last for months. Regardless what the case is after surgery, schoolwork is going to be a challenge. But with the help of my trusty new iPad and friends, family, and teachers I believe I’ll be able to get through it.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this is going to be hard. It’s probably going to be one of the biggest challenges that I’ve had to face in my measly seventeen years I’ve lived, and definitely one of the scariest. But as the fear threatens to grip me, I’m more and more determined to defeat this thing once and for all. For what’s living if you don’t face your fears?

It’s time to face them.