Thursday, August 28, 2014

Live live to the fullest - My brain surgery story...

The exquisite friend of the week will be posted tomorrow, as today is a very important day and I wanted to share something with you all. 

Live life to the fullest! 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. 

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 and as soon as I stand up, my head felt like exploding and I went directly to the bathroom to trow-up. 

I called my supervisor and told her what was going on and she told me that I might be pregnant again. I didn't understood the joke at the time. 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 the Neurosurgeon will be with me in a second to disclosed 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 and due to the location can cause me a sudden death, and he needed to take it out intermediately.

Let me give you a moment to digest such news... 

Sagittal nonenhanced T1-weighted magnetic resonanc Imagine a very young me, with a 3 years old little girl, with dreams and hopes for the future and with a death sentence in your brain that can kill you just like "right now"! 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 needs 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. Vigo was the Head Chief Doctor of the Neurosurgery Department and a MD Teacher. 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 nurses. The story of my life... I'm a weird specimen! :D

They gave me meds to lower the inflammation, as the headache was just the accumulation of liquids, making an enormous pressure over my brain. The day of the surgery - August 28, 2001 6:00AM - came, and 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..." And that's what he did. 

I wasn't worry. I knew that everything was going to be fine, and I'll be home in no time. I lost all my curls, 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. They 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, I remembered my family, I was awake... 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 as the patient was seizing -they were 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 baby sitter. 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 pick 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 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) :D So I reconfigured and learned to think... and then talk... Something that we all need to do, right?

It's been 13 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. Being able to just breath everyday, makes me happy. I take this time of the year to recharge and celebrate life. We tend to forget about the little miracles that we experience everyday and how amazing we 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
Today is like my second birthday. Those friends who lived it with me, knows how hard it was and how happy I am to be here and share my story.  

So, HAPPY SECOND BIRTHDAY to me. I made it! I'm here! I'm happy!  

Embrace life... Be grateful for the little miracles... Enjoy your time with your love ones... Everything could end "suddenly"!

Lots of love,




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